With festival season fast approaching, what it is about certain festivals which draw people back year after year? We spoke to some regular attendees to get the ‘inside track’ on what makes their festival so special. Here, we get the lowdown on the Handel Halle Festival in Germany.

Halle © Wikicommons | Jwaller
© Wikicommons | Jwaller

What is it about Handel Halle that makes you return year after year?

The love for Handel's music and the people interested in music I meet in Halle every year.

What tips would you offer would-be attendees about the best places to sit in the venue?

Don't miss the Goethe-Theater in Bad Lauchstädt! It is a unique place with a very special atmosphere, you are near to the stage and the acoustics are very good.

What are the acoustics like?

In general it is good but it can be different at the different places. It is good in the opera house, very good in Bad Lauchstädt; in the different churches, it may depend on the number of listeners, it can be very good in the Frielinghausen-Saal, mostly good in Ulrich's Church, acceptable but not really good in the Georg-Friedrich-Händel-Halle.

Where are the best places to eat before/ after the concert?

This depends on the personal taste. I like "Mönchshof" at the Market Church, "Dompfaff" near the the dome, "Rossini" at the Market Place has a very beautiful view, "Hallesches Brauhaus" offers good beer and a nice atmosphere. The café at the "Theaterinsel" is nice too. In the restaurant of the "Hotel Ankerhof" you can sit directly opposite the River Saale.

Is there a dress code? What should I wear?

There is no dress code. You may wear what you like.

How far in advance is it best to book tickets? Any booking tips?

It is necessary to book early if you want to get tickets for all performances in which you are interested, this means at the end of the preceding year. Members of the Handel Society have best chances because they can book some days before the official opening.

Handel House, Halle © Thomas Ziegler
Handel House, Halle
© Thomas Ziegler

What other cultural activities are there to do in the region?

You get to see a lot in the region and many cultural activities are possible. The Bach Festival at Leipzig (nearly at the same time) is not far, and Leipzig offers opera performances and concerts too. Dessau has an interesting opera house.

What makes your festival different to all the others?

Of course it is the genius loci. Handel lived only a short time in Halle but so many places and events are reminders of him.

How is the best way to get to the venue? Drive? Where do I park? Is the convenient public transport?

There are very good public transport services. The central railway station it not far from the center, the central bus terminal as well. Parking in the center is often difficult.

Where is a good place to stay?

This depends on the personal taste too, but there is a lot of good accomodations available which are not too expensive and normally you can reach the places of the performances by foot which is very convenient.

Read our preview of the 2015 Handel Halle Festival here