Marketing meets music –
global trade events converge along Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn district

NEXT conference combined with Europe’s largest club festival

The NEXT Conference, addressing the key digital trends in design, marketing and product development, took place 19 – 20 September 2019 in Hamburg. The Conference which promises to ‘dive deep into the world of tomorrow’s consumers’, has taken place in Germany‘s second largest city most years since its launch in 2006.

The organisers of the NEXT Conference – Accenture Interactive and FAKTOR 3 AG – partnered with the Reeperbahn Festival, to offer delegates free access to Europe’s largest club festival. The Reeperbahn Festival, attracting 40,000-plus visitors, took place 18 – 21 September alongside its Conference, Europe’s B2B platform for the music and digital industry attended by more than 5,000 professionals and media representatives from 56 countries.

Pop partners with digital

For two days the city became the epicentre of European pop culture and the digital scene. Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn district was a fitting setting, celebrated as the transformative party district for The Beatles. Education sessions, networking events, meetings, showcases, and award shows at both NEXT and the Reeperbahn Festival were held at the district’s many eclectic venues ranging from nightclubs, hotels and bars to restaurants, theatres and cinemas.

Parallel worlds – and the Hadron Collider

Each year, NEXT sets out to provoke debate and discussion around a broad digital theme with ‘parallel worlds’ the theme for 2019. Experts debated how real life and life online have now merged, creating not one but several new realities.

James Beacham, a physicist behind the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider was one of the keynote-speakers. As an experimental high-energy particle physicist, James explores the future of science, technology, and innovation including CERN’s plans for a colossal Future Circular Collider.

Thomas Mickeleit, Director of Communications at Microsoft, delivered a session on the future of digital sovereignty for states, organisations and citizens. Other speakers included Christian Rasche from Coca-Cola European Partners Deutschland, exploring innovation in the post-digital era, Johann Butting, VP of EMEA at Slack and Anja Hendel, Director of Porsche Digital Lab.

Big brand creatives

NEXT is an invitation only event bringing together thought leaders from many different countries, industries, disciplines and departments. This year’s event attracted over 1,500 delegates including marketing and product leaders, digital economy executives from the likes of Red Bull, Audi and Philips, Deutsch Bahn, Google, IBM and Netflix as well as innovators from start-ups.

Michael Adolf, Head of Digital Content at Audi, and previous attendee, says: “I think NEXT is great because it critically addresses the big digitalisation issues of our time.”

Hamburg’s creative sector

Digitalisation is at the forefront of many businesses in Hamburg. The city is Germany’s third largest creative hub, driven by the city’s renowned publishing houses and advertising agencies, film and television businesses, as well as the music and digital industries.

Caroline Molitoris from the Hamburg Convention Bureau says: “NEXT19 was brilliant! Outstanding keynotes from digital experts, artists and thought leaders contributed to a really diverse programme. The event underlined why the NEXT Conference and Reeperbahn Festival are a perfect match for Hamburg’s digital scene and boost the city’s reputation as a great location for digital innovation leaders from around the world.“

Next 2020 takes place 17 – 18 September.

For more information about the conference or how you can bring your next event to Hamburg,
contact our Team at

Photocredit: NEXT Conference

Caroline Molitoris

For more information about the conference or how you can bring your next event to Hamburg, contact our Team at or directly Caroline Molitoris,, who is responsible for cluster-related events and queries from the fields of media & IT, creative industries, renewable energies and smart city.