Rock am Ring
As the German home of Formula 1, the Nürburgring is famous worldwide for squealing brakes, burnt asphalt and go-faster stripes. But to thousands of music fans, the gruelling racetrack means a little bit more than just adrenaline-fuelled motor racing.
Every year, legions of music fans go on a Nürburgring pilgrimage to one of Germany's biggest music events - Rock am Ring festival. What started in 1985 intended to be a one-off event, with a relatively meagre 17 bands, soon became much bigger and in 2011 Rock am Ring is still going strong with this year's event boasting more than 80 bands on its roster of performers.
Most festivals start out small and work their way up to legendary status - not so for Rock am Ring. The first band to headline was U2, who took to the Rock am Ring stage a month before their legendary performance at Live Aid. The global superstars helped attract more than 75,000 revellers in the first year of the festival, and ever since then the first weekend of June is earmarked Rock am Ring weekend.
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And the level of music quality hasn't faltered over the years. Big names like Elton John, David Bowie, Pearl Jam, Fleetwood Mac and The Cure have appeared on-stage, alongside local emerging acts who have years of good music ahead of them.
That kind of musical diversity makes it tough for people to stay away, so year after year music-lovers return to Nürburg to camp out deep in the German countryside and have the time of their lives. In 2011 the festival hit new heights with a line up including Kings of Leon, Deadmau5, Coldplay, Korn, The Kooks and System of a Down, as well as German bands such as Madsen, Beatsteaks and Söhne Mannheims.
On top of that, Rock am Ring has a twin festival called Rock im Park, that after being held on a few different sites finally settled down in Nürnburg, Bavaria. The two festivals have become a serious force in European music, together attracting over 150,000 people in 2007.
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