Festival Winter in Germany

Usually, most people would associate festivals with spring or summertime, sunshine, and the occasional summer rain. However, if you are in Germany in winter, you can still find a variety of festive events that you can visit to color your holiday. In fact, two of the most iconic festivals in Germany take place during the cold months of the year.

Besides being famous for its attractive Christmas markets towards the end of the year, the cold season in Germany hosts the Tollwood Winter Festival and the Berlin Jazzfestival. To find out more about these two festivals, here is an overview of the Tollwood Winterfestival as well as the Berlin Jazzfestival.

1. Tollwood Winter Festival

Tollwod Festival


First introduced in 1988, the Tollwood Festival is a semi-annually held event with a strong commitment to people and nature. It prides itself for its “culture for all” philosophy and aims to reflect a multicultural society. The main keys of the festival are tolerance, internationality, and openness. Three particularities form the foundation of the festival, namely bio-certified foods and drinks from around the world, a “market of ideas”, and an entertainment program featuring excellent theatre productions and an amazing variety of shows, such as concerts, performance arts as well as visual and fine arts. The “market of ideas” or known as the creative market features handicraft from all over the world and is as much a part of the Tollwood Festival as are the concerts, arts, theater performances, and environmental activities. The festival understands itself as a forum for the environment and aims to promote environmental awareness. Among other aspects it advocates for an end to industrial mass livestock production, sustainable and responsible use of food, as well as a healthy and conscious diet. The Tollwood Festival is held twice a year in Munich, namely in summer from June-July at Olympic Park South and in winter from November-December at the Theresienwiese.

Tollwood Winter Festival, Theresienwiese, Munich

The Tollwood Winter Festival is often referred to as the “alternative Christmas market” in Munich. The winter edition was first held in 1992. While the Summer edition regularly attracts up to almost 1.000.000 visitors, in winter “only” around 600.000 people are brave enough to face the cold. Until now the festival is still going strong, although in 2020 the event was canceled and only held with a simplified version online, due to the Corona pandemic.

This year’s Tollwood Winterfestival will be held from November 24th to December 23rd, 2021. There you are offered a wide variety of exciting international productions, such as street theatre, organic gastronomy, performing arts and crafts from all over the world.


Entrance Fee for the Festival

To enter the festival, you will not be charged. Almost all activities here, such as the “market of ideas”, many of the cultural activities, and programs for children can be enjoyed for free. Around 70-80 % of this festival can be accessed freely. You can find information about events that will be charged, such as concerts, theaters, etc. in the festival program guide.

At the Tollwood Winter Festival visitors can not only enjoy the various programs offered there, but you can also buy interesting crafts as memorabilia or as (Christmas) gifts for your family and relatives.


2. Jazzfest Berlin


Jazzfest Berlin is a jazz festival in Berlin and one of the oldest jazz events in Europe. It has been going on for more than 50 years. Founded in 1964 in West Berlin by the Berliner Festspiele, the Berlin Jazz Festival is one of the longest running European festivals of international renown. Previously the festival was known as the Berliner Jazztage until 1980. This event is  inspired by words of Martin Luther King, an American Baptist minister and activist who was a spokesman and leader of the civil rights movement in the US from 1954 to 1968:

“So much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Now, Jazz is exported to the world… Everybody has the blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. In music, especially Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.”

Jazz legends Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock were part of the 1964 line-up. That first season saw the making of a legendary recording: “Miles in Berlin” with the Miles Davis Second Great Quartet. Whereas renowned US jazz celebrities set the tone during the first decade, the Berlin Jazz Festival increasingly brought in artists from around the world, with an increasing emphasis on contemporary European jazz.

Time and Place

Since its inception in 1964, Jazzfest Berlin has been a platform for musicians from around the world: Duke Ellington, Pat Metheny, Manfred Schoof, Avishai Cohen, Dizzy Gillespie and Joe Zawinul – more than 5,100 artists have appeared there altogether, representing nearly 1,200 bands. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Jazzfest Berlin was held offline. In 2019 the main venues of this event included the Haus der Berliner Festspiele with its various stages, the Gropius Bau, A-Trane, Quasimodo, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Unlike the previous year, in 2021 Jazzfest Berlin will be going hybrid, which will be divided into programs with some live concerts and some video works and live streaming. The Festival will be held from November 4th to November 7th, 2021.

With a different theme each year, this event is one of the most anticipated music events in Berlin. Through Jazzfest Berlin, fans can express themselves, by singing, dancing, and pouring out their hearts to the musicians.

Source: Audi Berlinale 2015 by AudiAG is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (3)