Beach, boat rides, live music: Holiday mood prevailed at “Summer on the River” – Thousands celebrated on the closed B 37

From the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung No. 192 of August 22nd, 2022 – by Hannes Huß

It doesn’t have to be the South Seas for a beach vacation, the Neckar is perfectly adequate. Heidelberg residents and visitors were able to experience this this weekend at the “Summer on the River” city festival. Between Alter Brücke and Montpellierplatz, the B 37 was closed and live stages, food trucks, a bouncy castle and much more was set up in its place. The weather also played along, clearing up quickly on Saturday with the opening of the festival and providing the best vacation feeling on the Neckar throughout the weekend. Especially in the evening, many thousands of people came to enjoy the old town shore car-free for once.

Student Jasper Novak stands in line for fresh beer in front of the stage at the Heuscheuer early Saturday evening: “I’ve never had to wait this long for a beer before,” the 23-year-old is annoyed by the long line. But that doesn’t dampen the joy of being able to really enjoy the Neckar for a day: “It’s super nice that the road is closed and you can really get to the river.” That’s how 24-year-old Yentl sees it, “It’s like a car-free Sunday.” The student has spent the entire day so far in the university library and is now looking forward to listening to local musicians and DJs.

For this she sits at the haystack stage, whose program was curated by “Breidenbach Studios”. They have invited young up-and-coming DJs from Heidelberg as well as regionally known DJs to play. In the evening the place in front of the stage fills up. Young people come in droves to party and dance. At noon on Saturday, it is still much emptier. During Mischeel Amar’s set almost nobody dances, only a few kids use the stage as a jumping platform. The 22-year-old spins a mix of funk and house, whose relaxed atmosphere fits perfectly with the relaxed mood. The 22-year-old isn’t letting the few active listeners spoil what was only her fourth performance: “I’m slowly loosening up with my sets and actually always have fun doing them.” Soon she has to move on, she will hang up later in the day at the Neckar beach at the Neckarlauer.

More and more people also flock to the stage at the Old Bridge on Saturday evening. You are watching the performance of the self-described “number one party band of the Rhine-Neckar region”: Amokoma. Where many a beer bench had remained empty during the day, every seat is now occupied. Many people go to the specially built up Neckar beach directly at the Old Bridge. There the team of the “Neckarorte” sells drinks, which is gratefully received by the visitors.

One of them is Stefanie from Bad Schönborn. The 36-year-old enjoys the beach feeling in the middle of Heidelberg with her family on Saturday afternoon. With a cocktail in hand, she sits in one of the beach chairs, “This is really cool, it should be there all the time, even for the young people.” She has only one concern: “It should be secured a bit so that the children don’t fall into the Neckar River.”

A real highlight for many visitors is a ride on the sloops. The restored wooden boats are in use for the first time at the “Summer on the River” and transport guests between the Old Bridge and the beach at Neckarlauer. Sarah from Cologne is very enthusiastic about it: “Here you get another impression of Heidelberg than when you go for a walk. It’s super romantic.” The 35-year-old spontaneously went to Heidelberg for the weekend – for a date. “Peter showed me the most beautiful corners of Heidelberg on a walk.”

On Sunday at noon, things are a bit quieter again at the festival. Georg Falkner is sitting in front of the hay barn enjoying his beer. The retiree traveled from Walldürn to Heidelberg for the “Summer on the River” to revisit the city of his student days. “It has a nice flair here.” He thinks it’s long overdue to create a really big city beach in Heidelberg: “I know the concept from Paris, it’s really nice there.”