The temperatures are rising and we all feel like staying outside until late, walking around the streets in a T-shirt at night, having barbecues and partying until the break of dawn. The summer awakens our spirits and gives us a lot of energy. Open air festivals are ideal to let this energy run free and to immerse yourself into a different world.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF OPEN AIRS
The first big open air festivals were celebrated in America. In 1959, the first “Newport Folk Festival” took place with live bands playing jazz, blues and folk. Six years later, already 80,000 people went to the festival. Another big open air of the sixties was the “Monterey International Pop Festival” with 200,000 visitors which was first held in 1967. This festival is generally seen as the start of the hippie and flower power movement and made pop legends like Jimi Hendrix and The Who popular. Soon, the music genres rhythm & blues and rock became trendy and in 1969, the first “Woodstock festival” was celebrated with 32 bands and 500,000 visitors. This legendary festival of the hippie movement soon became the center of festival history and was seen as an idol for many festivals that followed. Inspired by the American festival culture, first open airs were developed in England in the late sixties. At the island “Isle of Wight” in South England, the first “Isle of Wight festival” was celebrated in 1968 which was later also called the “Woodstock of Europe”.
OPEN AIRS IN GERMANY
Many other European countries started to organize big open air festivals in the end of the sexties. However, the first open airs in Germany were not very successful at all because they lacked organization. Outbreaks of violence, unrest and huge financial damages were the consequence of this poor organization. For instance, the “Love-and-Peace Festival” in 1970 at the German island Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea turned out to be a disaster with many injured visitors and property damage. During the late seventies, the German music promoter Fritz Rau brought his experience in organizing festivals from the US back to Germany and played a major role in planning many successful open airs. In 1985, the first “Rock am Ring” festival was organized in Germany and it was immediately a great success. In the end of the eighties, other small clubs and organizations established open air festivals and slowly but surely, a vibrant festival scene developed in Germany.
POPULAR FESTIVALS IN GERMANY
Some of the biggest festivals in Germany, which have become well-established, are the “Hurricane”, the rock festival “Wacken Open Air”, the “Fusion” festival, “Rock im Park”, “Nature One” and many more. We want to introduce four big festivals to you which you can easily reach from Berlin and therefore are a great addition to your Berlin trip in summer.
Since 17 years, the Fusion festival is taking place at the former Russian military base in Lärz, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and attracts thousands of party people each year. The festival is a mix of music, theatre, performance, art and food which includes almost all genres of electronic music. Besides minimal, techno, dubstep, trance, goa, house and drum and base, there is also live jazz, rock, ska, punk, reggae, hip hop and much more. So, there’s really something for everybody. The festival area is creatively designed in a unique way every year with wooden huts, magic forests, light installations and all sorts of other odds and ends. The former military hangars are amazing to sit on during sunset or to dance in when it’s raining. The Fusion festival creates a magic parallel universe full of hidden corners and stages where you lose yourself and forget about all the stress and worries of your daily routine. You don’t even have to worry about food – there are loads of food stalls with delicious vegetarian food from all over the world. The Fusion is one of the few festivals where camping and party grounds are not separated and you are allowed to bring your own drinks. Due to the great press of visitors, tickets have been limited since 2010 and since 2012, you can only get a ticket via the festival’s lot procedure. From Berlin Ostbahnhof (one stop via S-train from Industriepalast), you can take a direct festival shuttle to Fusion and get there within 1.5 hours.
Furthermore, the Melt! festival takes place every year at “Ferropolis” since 1997. From Berlin, you can get to “Ferropolis” by public transport within 1.5 hours. Ferropolis is a festival area which hosts several big open airs every year. There is a very special atmosphere at the Melt! festival when the huge cranes are colorfully lighted and the big crowds are jumping to the rhythm of the music. The camping area is located separately a bit off the music stages and festival grounds. That’s how two different worlds are created: at the camping area, people are pre-partying, having BBQs and socializing with the neighbors and at the festival area, everybody is dancing like mad until sunrise. While the crowd is going wild after sunset, the open air has quite a relaxing atmosphere during daytime. The music is calmer and the party people are standing with their feet in the water wearing sun glasses all day long and enjoying the sun. The Melt! is also known for its great line-up – it attracts many famous artists of the electronic music scene.
Another big festival at Ferropolis is the splash! festival – the biggest hip hop, reggae and drum and bass festival in Germany which has been taking place every year since 1998. The open air was first held at the “Oberrabensteiner Lake” – a beautiful location where you can swim in the lake and at the same time listen to hip hop music. That’s also where the festival’s name comes from – you can swim and splash around in the water. After many relocations of the festival area, splash! has been taking place at Ferropolis since 2010 as this location offers more space and financial advantages. Besides music, the festival also shows graffiti- and sound system competitions which involve the whole audience and are really fun and exciting to watch.
Since 1998, the Highfield festival is celebrated, which is one of the most significant indie-rock festivals of Germany. Until 2009, the festival took place at the lake “Stausee Hohenfelden” near Erfurt and since 2010, it is organized near the lake “Störmthaler See” close to the city of Leipzig. The location is perfect because you can cool down in the water after a crazy dancing session or dance with your feet in the sand. The Highfield festival attracts famous artists of the Indie-rock scene, like for example Die Ärzte, Placebo, blink-182, Revolverheld or the Beatsteaks. From Berlin, it takes about 2.5 to reach the festival by public transport.
So, you see that there are several big festivals in Germany which you can easily reach from Berlin. A short trip to Berlin is perfect to warm up before a festival or to slowly come back to the “normal” world after a crazy open air. If you happen to stay with us at Industriepalast before and after a festival (which would be awesome of course!), you can keep your luggage safely with us free of charge and pick it up again after the festival. Like that, you don’t have to carry around all the heavy stuff. Any way, we are looking forward to the festival season and to welcoming you here soon.
Party hardy and see you soon!
Blogger and receptionist of Industriepalast
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.