Barbarossa fest makes Kaiserslautern swing

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Courtesy photo Bands perform during the Kaiserslautern Barbarossa fest, “Swinging Lautern,” today and Saturday on a stage near Stiftskirche.
Courtesy photo
Bands perform during the Kaiserslautern Barbarossa fest, “Swinging Lautern,” today and Saturday on a stage near Stiftskirche.

Kaiserslautern’s annual Barbarossa fest, under the motto “Swinging Lautern,” started Thursday night and will continue today and Saturday.

The City of Kaiserslautern sponsors the event in cooperation with the local sales promotion agency “Kaiser in Lautern,” which translated means “Emperor in Kaiserslautern.” The fest features live performances on open-air stages at Altenhof, Schillerplatz, Stiftsplatz and in front of Stiftskirche, fashion shows, children’s activities and special offers.

“Our successful fest has turned into an inherent part of Kaiserslautern’s calendar of events,” said Volker Stephan, “Kaiser in Lautern” chairman. “It offers an international music program consisting of swing, blues, boogie, jazz, soul and salsa combined with a nice atmosphere.”

Today, musical performances start at 11 a.m. with the U.S. Army Jazz Combo playing modern jazz on the stage on Stiftsplatz. The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band Wings of Dixie will play from noon to 3 p.m. in front of Stiftskirche. Other bands performing in the afternoon and at night will be the Gentlemen of Dixieland, Dirty Boogie Orchestra, Present Art Collection and Uptown Shufflers.

On Saturday, the bands Chicago Bounce and uffgeBrassd start playing at 11 a.m. Many other bands and marching groups will entertain the audience until 1 a.m.

The Barbarossa fest also features culinary specialties and special attractions by stores and activities in the streets, such as fashion shows.

Vendors will present arts and crafts, such as necklaces, bags and oil paintings, on Altenhof. Children can take a ride on the fairytale merry-go-round on Markstrasse, and enjoy a jumping castle, balloons and face painting on Fackelstrasse.

A kiddie train will give children free rides through the center of town. The train stops can be found on Marktstrasse (Pallmannstore) and Schillerstrasse (‘Kaiser in Lautern’ stand) today, and Riesenstrasse (Erika leather store) and Pirmasenser Strasse (Picobello store) Saturday.

Like last year, visitors will be able to buy the Swinging Lautern hat for €5 as well as the Swinging Lautern button for €2 to show their support for the event.  Proceeds will go to youth agencies.

“We want visitors to enjoy this unique event with music and food. They are ‘Emperors in Kaiserslautern,’” Stephan said.

A pocket brochure listing the entertainment program is available at the Kaiserslautern Tourist Information Office, in stores and restaurants, or online at or