Starting up as a local agency in Germany’s Ruhr area in 1993, CONTRA has grown to become an established brand in the European live music industry. In 1997, CONTRA began arranging tours for Crossover band Guano Apes, followed by successful tours with acts like HIM, Reamonn, Sunrise Avenue, Nightwish, H-Blockx and Oomph! throughout the 90s and early 2000s. At the same time the agency produced one of the most important live music concepts for MTV: The MTV Campus invasion, which attracted up to 60,000 people each year. Locally promoted shows for Rihanna, Nickelback, 30 Seconds To Mars were followed by internationally successful tours for CONTRA’s acts.

After 30 years in the business, the agency is now the biggest independent promoter in Germany (acc. to Pollstar ranking 2022 / 2023), working in a wide range of genres, covering everything from metalcore to punk rock, from indie music to mainstream pop. CONTRA WORD is the inhouse department for podcast shows, creative spoken word concepts and comedy - and has grown to be the market leader in the German podcast live business.  

Founder and managing director Björn Gralla and managing directors Hendrik Czaster and Manuel Carvalho lead a dedicated team, besides booking departments the agency has it’s own teams for ticketing, marketing and production. From their headquarters in Bochum, CONTRA acts as global agency for most of their acts, working all territories including North & South America, Australia, Asia and of course Europe.

The agency is also booking the “Zeltfestival Ruhr” (Ruhr Tent Festival), which attracts more than 150,000 visitors per year, and has had acts playing like Ed Sheeran, Joe Cocker, Bastille, Bush, James Blunt, Placebo, Jamie Cullum and many others.

© Henri Juvonen