Dancing Through a Monsoon in Munich

"It's a faceoff between the music and the rain, with a wet crowd caught in between."
Munich, Germany
The Tollwood Sommerfestival

Story & Media: Ben Rubin

On my last night in Munich I went to this alternative hippie festival, called the Tollwood Sommerfestival, at the olympic park right outside the city.  I rode my river bike down there, locked it up under a tree, and wrestled my way into the crowds just in time to see these foreboding dark clouds on the horizon slowly creeping in.

It began sprinkling a bit but nothing too crazy, and the festival seemed unphased - lots of energy, people out and about, great food smells from everywhere.  I'm getting chatty with the vendors, wandering around, basically soaking up the scene...then it hits all at once - buckets from the sky, lightning, wind...whole 9 yards.

So i'm running and find shelter in the nearest tent, as do lots of other drenched people. We pack into this eastern themed one - it's huge in the middle of the fairgrounds, set up like a Bedouin camp with rugs everywhere and lots of incense.  In the middle this group of Indian performers are playing some traditional music, but it begins to be drowned out by the crowds coming in - everyone sandwiching in together and waiting for the rain to stop.  It's a serious wet mess outside and we can all hear the rain pounding on the tent.

As people continue to push into the tent, the performers get more and more animated to keep a leg up on the noise.  It's a faceoff between the music and the rain, with this wet crowd caught in between.  In the middle of all of this, and unknown to everyone, rain has been building up in the tarp on the roof.  Suddenly, a giant spout of water shoots out and empties all over the stage - all over the dancers.  Now everyone is wet, but the performers keep dancing as the rain picks up momentum.  The water continues to dump on the stage, but the show goes on.  With no where else to go, some of the crowd starts dancing too - up on to the slippery stage, dancing out the storm.