Pfingst Open Air

Pfingst Open Air

Monday is Pfingsmontag or Whit Monday, a federal holiday in Germany.  Every year, the city of Essen sponsors a free concert called Pfingst Open Air, featuring a wide variety of musical genres, including heavy metal, reggae, and techno.  Moreover, the event takes place right on the Ruhr river.  As the weather was nice and some great bands were playing my friends and I decided to go.

First, we had brunch and then drove to the festival, as public transit was extremely full.  Once we got to the event, we set out a picnic blanket under a tree and relaxed.  It was extremely hot, around 95º Fahrenheit, which is even hotter without air conditioning (which is uncommon in most German buildings).  After relaxing for a while, we went for a round of beers and surveyed the different booths selling band T-Shirts.

Soon, the crowd swelled, as people filed in to see the better known acts.  After  about four hours, we were all tired, hot and sweaty, and decided to head home.  The trains leaving the event were less crowded and after about a 20-minute train ride we were finally back home.

Having only had brunch, we decided to go to a well-known vegan burger shop for dinner.  Then, we went home to watch a movie.  On our way back, the apartment complex across from ours had no power.  Thankfully, we still had power and could watch the film. About 30 minutes later, however, it began to rain extremely hard to the point that it was raining sideways.  It poured for an hour with high winds.  Coming from Virginia, the storm reminded me of a hurricane.  The rain kept pouring, letting up only a couple of times during the night.

The next day on my way to work, trees were down everywhere.  Not just the limbs but whole trees were uprooted.  The Straßenbahn (or tram) that I usually take to work was not running as downed trees blocked the tracks and so I had to walk to work, which would not have been so bad were it not still 90º F and were I not in a suit.  The Straßenbahn was out for almost a week and efforts to clean up the streets are still on-going.  Thankfully, we had decided to leave the concert early; otherwise,  we would have been trapped at the venue without shelter.  We heard that others had to walk home through knee high water and that the high winds ripped the speakers from the stage.  It was reported that the storm caused 100 Million Euros in damage.

Storm Damage