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Showing posts from July, 2015

Towing the Party Line II: Tag des Illegalen OpenAirs

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With all the hype about Zug der Liebe last weekend, I almost forgot that there's another dose of musical mischief happening this weekend.  A collective of open air party sound systems in the capital has decided to declare this Saturday August 1st 'Illegal Open Airs Day'.

Illegal open air parties are a vestige of that Berlin free party tradition that started with free techno raves in the early 1990s.   The music has changed over the years, from techno to tech-house, funk, hip hop and sometimes even occasional live acts.  Berline's free open air parties aren't usually very big, loud or obnoxious- or easy to find - but they have always been incredibly popular.  Some of the more intrepid tourists seem to come here just to track them down.  But in the last couple of years, the police became so adept at shutting them down that most of the sound systems have stopped bothering organizing them altogether.

Never mind that they attract hundreds of people and cause few or no …

Demo Diary: Zug Der Liebe, Saturday July 25, 2015

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"Peace, joy and pancakes!"
... was the deliriously random tagline for the Berlin Love Parade, back when it started in 1989.  The Love Parade was founded in 1989 to celebrate DJ Dr. Motte's birthday.  It was originally billed as a protest and had an ambitiously broad range of demands: global disarmament, unity through music and an end to food poverty.  The solution offered to all these problems was simple enough: bring people together to dance, hug and share. Tomorrow, the Zug der Liebedemo & street party will be doing something a bit similar, but it has made some necessary updates to the template that its predecessors created. 

At the time when the first Love Parade happened, its organizers had a glaring example of division, corruption and repression sitting right on the doorstep in the form of the German Democratic Republic, lurking darkly behind its Wall.  After people started streaming through that wall that had been controlled by the state in pretty much every wa…

Underground for e.V.er.

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"These past few years have been like that boiling-frog analogy, in reverse. Berlin has gradually crept toward a richer convergence of its various dance music styles, but it's done so in such tiny increments that we didn't even realize it was happening.  It was only when I brought my friend Sisyphos that I suddenly felt the heat.  Finally, Berlin is living up to its hype: this scene is in a full-on boil."

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Fields of Dreams: A Free Festive Guide for Summer 2015

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Fusion?  Sold out.  Burning Man?  Too far out.  Glastonbury & Melt?  Rip-offs.  Boom Festival?  R.I.P. Even though the European festival circuit keeps expanding year on year, the inspiring and revolutionary events that started the trend seem to be a perpetually endangered species.  In this post, I suggest a few authentic underground festivals in Germany and Europe that are still outstripping their overhyped, overpriced competitors for both style and substance.  Follow this guide, and you may still be able to have fun in a field this summer with nothing but a backpack, some hard work and an open mind...

Enter the search terms 'European underground music festival' into Google and you'll get nearly endless results.  So many festivals out there, all claiming to be authentic and eclectic; yet they all seem to blend into one, big generic blur.  They all last three to four days. They all feature a man-made, pop-up hipster enclave that's burst out of some rural backwater …