1st Tanz und Folk Fest 1991 - 5 - 7 July

What to do with the old dance festival? wondered the Rudolstadt city council after the reunification of Germany and wrote the conductor of Tanzfest. There were a handful of applications, conceptually closely aligned with the majority of them was the old dance festival. And so the choice fell on an application from the Leipzig musician (Folklander/Bierfiedler) and organizer (Tanzhausfest) Ulrich Doberenz and his small group of folkies from East and West. Their idea: preserve the good from the Old, add something new and exciting - since restrictions only constrict, the TFF should represent the large breadth that this music sector has to offer: Folk and World Music, Stages and interactive dance, Concerts and workshops, Loud and Quiet - a cheerful playground for the (musical) cultures of the world. The idea went on. In just six months, built from the ground, he found himself on the first full weekend of July with musicians from around the world and with several thousand visitors in Rudolstadt. Among the highlights of this were the concerts of Elena Ledda, the Terem Kvartet or Jablkoň, the evening with the Tannahill Weavers, Liederjan and Folklander / Bierfiedler and the last appearance from Derroll Adams & Rambling Jack Elliott. And there, on a proposal from the Office director Peter Uhlmann, the first Magic Concert ‘Magie auf Knopfdruck’ dedicated to the Melodeon. Also present were: Katherine Bersoux (FRA), Andy Cutting (GRB), Kepa Junkera (ESP), Máirtín O'Connor (IRL), Emmanuel Pariselle (FRA) and Riccardo Tesi (ITA).


Tanz& FolkFest Rudolstadt 1991. A new beginning for a festival, it has for a long time been so desired and imagined. (Ostthüringer Zeitung)

What the festival in the 32,000-strong town on the Saale made so unique, was the atmosphere and successful mix of music from diverse backgrounds (Badische Zeitung)


In the early 50s the GDR government decided to organize an all-German Folk Dance Festival. The location of choice fell on Rudolstadt in Thuringia. Once there, one was invited in 1955 to the first "Festival of German folk dance" in the hope of a "soon united, peace-loving, democratic Germany"; around 50 groups from D-West and 110 from D-East came. Later, with the wall built, in a "unified Germany" they continued but not with the Tanzfest in Rudolstadt:

1963 – 1st festival of song and dance on a county level.

1965 – 1st. Dance and Music Festival in the district of Gera.

1969 - renamed  DDR Tanzfest (and counted as the 5th; from then on bi-annually)

1984  - 1st Rudolstädter Folklore-Tour: On two horse-drawn carriages ten folklorists traveled for a week with a swarm of ‘Tanzwutiger’, two magicians, some artisans and staff and camped, cheered, played and danced in each village every night.

1989. – the 17th and last Tanzfest took place.