Preview: The Summer of Sub

At the moment I'm working on a book so I probably won't have much time for entries over the coming weeks but a glance at the party calendar indicates that August is already brimming with parties. With the amount of people in town for the city's peak tourism month, even the alternative events I've listed are guaranteed to be splashy... So, there is no need to settle for run of the mill 'techno' parties that all sound the same; plenty of other subcultures within the electronic genre - psytrance, gabber, hard industrial techno and flower-power free parties - are present and accounted for this month.
Saturday August 4th
Tthere will be a free openair at 'the Devil's Hill' from 12 p.m. Despite the scary name, it will probably be a fluffy (glittery and neon-y, too) party. The site itself is also an icon for urban explorers so you can kill two strange birds with one stone by going there.
There is also a BGE parade on the 4th which, as far as I understand, is a party-cum-protest in favour of implementing an across the board, basic living wage in Germany. It starts at 1 p.m., by Frankfurter Allee S-bahn.
Also on the 4th, there is a street party/club party at VEB Club in Storkower Strasse. Has anyone been to the VEB yet? I haven't but this seems like a good time to venture to the venue - it's local, inexpensive and now outdoors as well. Their line-up seems varied, i.e. it features music other than minimal techno / Hipster house (one and the same thing, if you ask me). You have to become a member to get in and the party page just says you should "ask" which I'm assuming means that you can join at the door, right...? It's all a bit hazy, but those of you intrepid enough to give it ago could be rewarded with three indoor/outdoor dancefloors and a 7 Euro party that goes for two days.
Also in Lichtenberg, there is the Dark Techno / Hard Dance / Industrial Tech party Death Rave at Subland. I think the name paints a pretty clear mental picutre of the kind of demographic they cater to (that would be them on the right).
Also today is a free Firefly openair party in Grünewald from 12 p.m.
Tacheles' progeny Treptopolis will be opening its doors at 23:00 on Saturday the 4th for what looks like it will be a straightforward, inexpensive minimal party. The venue itself is the real alternative attraction: a spacious, creative haven in a remote area of town that allows some of the city's most embattled DIY artists to get on with following their muses in authentic Berlin style.
Sunday August 5th
Don't miss the Zurück zu den Wurzeln openair party; the last one (pictured above) was a blast! They generally keep the minimal tech to a minimum and each of their other DJs seem to inhabit some obscure, resonant niche of electronic expertise of their own. Definitely a better bargain than many of this weekend's club parties.
Saturday August 11
For the past three summers, my birthday tradition has been the Krake Festival. The annual event packs as much subversive, innovative music from the electronic music scene into one week as can be expected for a mere 'club festival'. The acts are always brilliantly lined up and I always end up hearing something that makes me go 'oooh': last year it was a bizarrely funny set of playstation psytrance in the back garden and the year before that, Radioactive Man & Cristian Vogel. Dropping in unannounced at their packed Friday night party is also a birthday tradition that I'll be sticking to this year, but they are doing stuff throughout the week. Find the full festival lineup listing here.
Hanfparade, the annual pro-pot protest (try saying THAT 10 times fast after smoking a super-sized one) will be happening the same day. It starts at the World Clock in Alex Platz at 1 p.m. and then blissfully wanders about the city until 10 p.m.

Unsurprisingly, Goa & psytrance sounds will dominate at the official Hanfparade after parties, the most promising of which will take place in the trippy ruins of Spreepark, Plänterwald. The psytrance penchant for luminescence combined with all those derelict kiddy rides could result in a magical spectacle, even for the sober amongst you. It's 10 Euros and probably best to buy tickets in advance as the equivalent event last year was pretty busy.
That same evening, Neukölln-based Sameheads & Purge will be doing an anti-openair which aims "to cover that hideous luminous orb" (i.e. the sun) "with clouds of black bass fumes".... and I wouldn't expect anything less of them. If that idea fills you with a queasy sense of fascinated horror then you should sign up for the event as fast as your black lace-covered claws can type.
Wednesday August 15th
Light in the Dark at Mindpirates is a free party with free drinks, combining "the primal power of light, fire and rhythm".... but it's only open to those who RSVP to rsvp@mindpirates.org. The acts cross the spectrum from "dub-destruction" to "psychedelic rock full of cosmic vibes and eternal sunshine". Sounds perfect for anyone with bi-polar, creative tendencies (come to think of it, I'd probably feel at home there. Gotta check that one out).

Friday August 17th:

Underground beats in an subterranean venue, to help save city's underground-style clubs & parties: The Empire Strikes Back Against Gema Free Party at Subland should tick all your "been there, done that" Berlin boxes in one go. Starts from midnight at Subland. The address is Wiesenweg 5, 10365. And it's free!
B. Rave NuWorld @ Kili Lounge, the club adjacent to Subland, is also hosting a free party of groovy tekno by a French sound system. It comes highly recommended by a mate of mine, who tells me that the crew is quite famous in France. Their website offers a teaser of some of the mad party decos (as pictured at an Italian warehouse party, left) that they will hopefully be showcasing this Friday.
Ed: I kind of feel like a broken record posting all these Subland events but honestly, they are one of the only venues that seems willing to experiment with more than one band of electronic music's colour spectrum. They're doing a great job of it too, so until other Berlin venues (and their clientele) develop a better sense of adventure in music, I reckon I'll be writing about them a lot!!
Saturday August 25th
Up next is my favourite event of the year: the annual Fuck Parade on which, this year, starts in Mauer Park (3 p.m.). The new starting point is undoubtedly intended to underscore the demand to protect free spaces in Berlin which, like Mauer Park, allow spontaneous acts of creativity: openairs, impromptu gigs, busking, juggling, craft and bakery sales and the ever-popular Bearpit Karaoke. The local council is threatening to subject Mauer Park's creative activities to bureaucratic regulation - which is a bit like leaving the wolves in charge of your flock. It also wants to start charging prohibitive new 'clean up' fees that will probably not change the park's landscape, which is already fairly well tended to, but which will take the park's underpaid artists to the cleaners. Come along if you want to get down & dirty and show them that corporate culture may have all the power... but subculture still has all the fun.

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Berlin, Germany
...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, activism, social media rights. Other publications that I have written for: OpenDemocracy, Urban Challenger, Siegesaeule, Alternative Berlin and Sensanostra.