Elbenwald Festival 2019 [Sponsored]
In case you‘ve been wondering about Hogwarts students flying brooms over your head, armored dwarfs marching through the backyard or a group of Daenerys triplets prancing by, question no more: It‘s time for the Elbenwald Festival 2019! From the 8th to 10th August the event location Luhmühlen calls for the cosplayers, performers, geeks, artists, bookworms and fangirls `n boys from all across germany and beyond to „a long expected party“.
Fans heading towards the great fandome tent
A glimpse over the festival grounds
What began as a small onlineshop project by three Lord of the Rings – enthusiastic students, has become germany’s leading provider of fantasy merchandise, that distributes all the heart desires from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Medieval themes, many popular TV shows, Archery and more in 36 stores spread over germany and austria.
This year I had the honor to be invited as their partner and report my experiences from the visit. Though this report is created in collaboration with Elbenwald, it of course will reflect my honest and personal opinion, as usual on this blog.
The Deadpool shinanigans snap got somehow corrupted with these weird blue und yellow streaks, but in the end maybe it looks even cooler that way?
That said, let’s dive in! As I could bring a +1, I went together with my boyfriend, with whom I already attended the premiere of the very first Elbenwald Festival in 2018 – a no-brainer for us! Although the launch of a brandnew festival is always rather bumpy from an organizational point of view, we had a decent amount of fun and were excited for a second round. To enjoy a first impression, check out the official 2019 aftermovie below!
Inside the fandome watching Coldmirror on stage
In the morning we arrived at Lüneburg train-station to catch the event’s shuttlebus, which would then take us a 30 minute drive out to the countryside. I was kinda disappointed to see that the first shuttle would just arrive at 1pm, despite the program of that day already starting at 11am. We kept being optimistic that it was a mistake, but ended up taking a common bus and walk the rest. I think it should’ve been organized according to timetable so you won’t miss out, but of course it’s still very convenient and nice that the festival has set up its own hourly busline.
The medieval larp section
We enjoyed the path through the beautiful forest until the parking area came in sight: the overall location is really pretty, it’s surrounded by big trees and purple heather and decorated with festive garlands and deathstar-lanterns. After getting our combi wristbands at the counter, we passed the camping area (that’s devided in regular camping and Tolkien’s Shire camping) and headed to the green meadow of the main ground. Last year you could enter the festival to the right and left, this year the right side was closed, to assemble all attractions in one place. I was briefly bummed about the place being narrowed down, but many visitors had pointed out that the first edition seemed too “empty” and with this solution they had a more dense presentation of exhibitors.
In general I want to stress how amazing the reaction of the Elbenwald responsables was, as they took into account everything the first time visitors had criticized or praised and tried their best to adjust to their costumers wishes and needs. This is something rare and cherishable (I’m blatantly looking at you, EA), so thank you so much for your open ears!
Magical jewelry up for sale
At the gates our bags got briefly checked and we went in. The pamphlet we received at the entrance contained a useful map that made it easy to find everything you’re interested it: The fandome (a huge artistic tent where Q&As with youtubers and celebrities would be held, also the orchestra), the merchandise sellers, exhibitors, comic artists, foodcourt, cinema, Hobbitlair, theatre, workshop stages and tents, Quidditch field, mediavel larp camp, wizardschool, the fellowship tent, Cosplay shop, Archery, Adult Swim, Boardgame area, toilets and much more. You already see – this is a nerds paradise.
We headed to the Potter-Quiz (a well made funny/punny group activity with a host) that took place in the fandome, where we saw Coldmirror again (it was our third time now and still my heart races like crazy when I see this devine woman gosh darnit! Last time I talked with her at Tincon, could barely speak properly and though I’m usually a person that doesn’t turn red, I transformed into a signalfire, but yeah that’s a whole other story…)
Unfortunately, many attendants of the Quiz were let down as the time management failed and they just didn’t give out the final answers or winners properly, which was kind of the whole reason for the show. Nevertheless, we quickly forgot about that, listening to a casual talk segment with actor Jack Gleeson (King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, I had briefly seen him at the Berlin Comic Con 2017), Finn Jones and Tom Wlaschiha. They were followed by Kaddi and Liberiarium’s never seen before teenage fanfictions, acted out on stage. It was hilarious to say the least and the crowd was squeeling in laughter.
Liberiarium and Coldmirror acting out their teenage fanfictions
Game of Thrones stars having a chat
As lunchtime rolled around we entered the foodcourt, which still was a bit expensive but to me that is common for festival prices. This year the variety of food choices was pretty balanced and diverse, they even had japanese bubbletea! With filled stomachs we explored the round tent of the Elbenwald merchandise store, a packed treasure chest of clothing, costumes, jewelry, mugs, figures, keychains, wallets, games, books and much more. I was super excited to have a look at everything, though I agree with other visitors, that regarding the fantastic dimension of what Elbenwald has to offer, that area could have been a lot bigger. A cheap deal for a cozy Portgas D. Ace hoodie strongly tempted me, but in the end I picked a The Legend of Zelda T-Shirt with a gorgeous golden artwork.
Da-na-na-naaaa my new Zelda Shirt ♡
People enjoying their meals in the foodcourt
Continuing our tour, we explored the rest of the grounds and attractions. The contributors put a lot of love and work into the schedule overview found in the pamphlet, that provided an extensive amount of workshops like Building your own wand, comic drawing, duellingclub, juggling with Forzarello, Detention with McGonagall, Care of magical creatures, sword fighting, knitting, fortune telling, potions class, and so on.
Some of them charge a small fee for materials, but they are mostly free and contain groups of 15 to 40 participants. We checked out the Adult Swim booth where they were offering a raffle, passed the Quidditch field that was beautifully decorated with huge Hogwarts flags and listened to a soothing reading by Jenny-Mai Nuyen.
Listening to Jenny-Mai Nuyen reading an excerpt from her book
In the neighboring tents you were able to get photographs and autographs from your favorite stars (like this years Katie Leung – Cho Chang from Harry Potter), which is always a great opportunity! We didn’t join the queue, but I’m happy to say things seemed to go smoothly.
Last year we had faced some difficulties, as we stood in line for 3 hours in burning heat for Coldmirror (next to Tom Felton and Evanna Lynch – Draco and Luna from Harry Potter) and due to organizational errors didn’t get to reach them in time, while simultaneously missing the magnificently sounding concert by Counterfeit, the band of Jamie Campbell-Bower (young Voldemort in Fantastic beasts and where to find them). Nevertheless, the organization was improved and comprehensible in 2019, Elbenwald took to heart what fans had reported and everyone seemed excited.
Trying to be as cool as this awesome joker painting
The Quidditch field
This is a huge plus about the festival anyways, the amazing people you get to see and meet, that share the same passions and love all across different fandoms. Elbenwald offers bus-tours from across germany to reach the festival, so upon arrival you can already witness awesome cosplayers taking photos together or likeminded people from child to elderly proudly discussing their latest merch acquisition. This made for a delightful and happy atmosphere, which was very enjoyable.
A photo with the amazing Jack Sparrow cosplayer. There were many more impressive characters around, check out the aftermovie to find them
Several impressions from our tour
The evening closed with the Elbenwald orchestra and band, a live musicevent of various filmclassics, followed by a casual partytime. I will never forget last years Kristian Nairn (Hodor in Game of Thrones) playing his DJ set with 3D flame-letters on the wall and repeating explosion-motiongraphics. First I was in shock, then I laughed tears, it was unforgettably epic. Many acts I didn’t find the space to include in this article participated in the festival too, like Schandmaul, Kai Mayer, Rockstah, Gabrielle Pietermann, DagiLP, Robert Corbus or Cha Ginger, just to mention a few.
The official Elbenwaldstore tent
That’s about it! A wholehearted “Thank You!” again for inviting me and I hope this was a helpful insight to you readers out there! For more impressions and info check out the festivals Website or browse for a nice cosplay before your visit, at the Elbenwald Store.
In collaboration with Elbenwald.
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