Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Berlin Festival - The Festival Side Of Things

An airport turned ghost town, the most unlikely of festival venues - unused, empty and lifeless, until resurrected for 2 nights for Berlin Festival as part of Berlin Music Week.

Aware of what S-Bahn to catch but unable to read the directions on our ticket, we followed the crowd of punters off the train at Platz der Luftbr├╝cke to Tempelhof Airport.

On the way to the venue, we past a group of local artists who were enticing people into their exhibition with the offer of free vodka. Taking the bait, we took some time to explore the original collection of sculptures, art works, installations and to watch the live band.  

Entering the festival, via what used to be the check in counters, we collected our wrist bands. Passing the baggage claim carousels, through the security checks and drawing nearer to the pulsating beats of the main stage, this venue was unique alternative from the rolling fields we had become accustom to.

(above two photos by StereoDan)

With two additional main stages, a mobile disco, Berlin Club floor and silent disco, the festival appeared to offer a vast collection of musical treats that leaned more towards the electronic end of the spectrum. The line up however, began to crumble after the first signs of pressure on the venue, and people were left with a not so vast array of performers.

Friday night following Atari Teenage Riot, a brief DJ set by Boemklatsch and only moments prior to 2ManyDJ’s taking the stage, people had gathered in mass trying to enter Hanger 4 (hangers 4 and 5 were the other two stages, more enclosed and not as large main stage). With the fear of crowd surges, and a repeat of the unfortunate Love Parade incident, festival organisers and local police authorities decided to pull the pin on the remaining acts. Around 2.30 am Saturday morning the festival was shut down and revelers were denied major acts 2ManyDJ’s and Fatboy Slim. 

The Saturday night line up was, as a result, drastically changed in an attempt to move the major acts from hangers 4 and 5 and put them on the main stage. The initial programme had music running until from 2pm to 6 am, the new timetable, to the anger of attendees, ran only until 11pm. Saturday’s vibe felt of disappoint and frustration, especially for the punters who had only brought tickets for the Saturday and arrived late thinking they had all night. But organisers have asked punters to hold on to their wrist bands as it will give people free admission to upcoming gigs over the next few months.

As a venue, the airport hangers were a novel approach. Festival sound was not all that good but on the plus side there were bars literally every 20m. Festival food stalls were the worst yet, with little more that hot chips, kebabs and bratwurst (German sausage). The venue also had only two toilet areas, but then again, despite being sold out, the festival was not all that large, looking around 30 thousand at its peak. 

Music Blogs on the way 
Bec Clark

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