What’s up in Berlin? April – June 2019

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The sun is shining, cyclists roam the streets wherever you look, and apparently just the other day there was a confirmed sighting of a bus driver with a smile on his face – no doubt: it’s springtime in Berlin! And while the Berlin winter is not half as dark and gloomy as people say it is (well…), we are still thankful that the warm season is finally upon us. Sunbathing in the park, strolling along the canal, the first night at a beer garden – it is quite the show to see the city come out of its grumpy hibernation. And it’s worth waking up, for there are many amazing event waiting for us. Sporting events or bike show, film festivals or art exhibitions, hardly a day goes by in spring without some major thing happening. And don’t forget the street festivals… That being said, pay attention now and book your ticket to Berlin already, for here come the biggest events in Berlin from April through June 2019:

Capital culture

The cultural attractions of Berlin are plenty, and now during spring, special events shoot up just like mushrooms. Take Record Store Day on April 13, when audiophiles crawl out of their caves and storm the record stores of the city. On May 3, not only the Lolas, the German Film Awards, will be announced, it’s also the kick-off for Berliner Theatertreffen (“Berlin Theatre Meetup”) which brings dozens of guest performances to the stages of the capital through May 19. Iconic Oberbaum Bridge is normally being turned into a huge art gallery under the open sky twice a year, but due to construction works, in 2019 it will only happen once: Open Air Gallery on May 5. Art festival 48h Neukölln is celebrating 20 years this time, but it surely has not gotten old. For some reason this festival has managed to become a major influence on the Berlin art scene while remaining somewhat subversive at the same time. Talking about subversive: that’s what the world of classical music and opera is really not. But it has the potential to be somewhat disruptive, when the doors of the holy concert halls open – not to let the public in, but to let the orchestra out: Staatsoper für alle (“State Opera for all”) is a charming, free open-air event where everybody is invited to enjoy the Staatskapelle perform with Daniel Barenboim on Bebelplatz (June 16). Has your appetite been whet? On June 25 – 30, Komische Oper Festival takes place again, presenting all new productions of the season and plenty of fringe events.

Picasso and more

And we’re not quite done exploring the cultural offers of this city, for some fascinating exhibitions have been announced: Mantegna and Bellini – Masters of the Renaissance is the name of a special exhibition at Gemäldegalerie which aims to bring the works of the two Italian artists face to face for the first time from March 1 through June 30. Barberini Art Museum in Potsdam is expecting a rush of visitors from March 9 through June 16, when Picasso. The Late Work presents 132 works from the collection Jacqueline Picasso, some of which have never been on display in Germany before. At Gropius Bau, a collective exhibition by some 20 Berlin-based artists sheds  a light on the contemporary art scene of the capital: And Berlin will always need you, March 22 – June 16. If you’re familiar with the artist Emil Nolde, you will probably know that he spent considerable time in Berlin. What many don’t know, is that he played a more than questionable role during the Nazi regime. A German Legend. Emil Nolde and the Nazi Regime is the title of an overdue exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof starting April 12.

Dancing under cherry blossoms

After a long winter, there’s hardly anything Berliners look forward to just as much as to the countless open air festivals that happen all around the city during the warm months. Berlin Spring Festival is a classic county fair, happening on Kurt-Schumacher-Damm from March 29 through April 19. Berlin is not Tokyo, but the “Gardens of the World” in the eastern borough of Marzahn expect quite an impressive cherry blossom season nonetheless. Cherry Blossom Festival on April 14 is hanami culture in the heart of Europe. Workers’ day in notorious Kreuzberg once was a revolutionary act, scaring the bourgeois public all over West Berlin. These days, it has become Myfest, the first major street festival of the season (May 1). And then, there’s the mother of street parties in Berlin: Carnival of the Cultures turns Kreuzberg into Rio again from June 7 through 10. Have a summer feeling yet? The beginning of summer is traditionally celebrated at street music festival Fête de la musique on June 21.

It’s all about momentum

No olympics, no soccer world cup, yet 2019 still brings some major sporting events. Like Berlin Half Marathon on April 19, which might be considered the “little brother” of Berlin Marathon in fall, but makes for the same amazing atmosphere among runners and spectators. May 25 the capital is all about sports then, with two big events taking place on the same day: Berlin E-Prix, the annual Berlin Formula E race right in the city centre, and the most important match in German soccer: DFB Cup Final at Olympic Stadium.

On the silver screen

And on a rainy day? Go see a movie! This year’s Berlin International Film Festival is a thing of the past, but the year has only just begun for smaller independent film festivals. You can practically travel the world with festivals such as Shebeen Flick Irish Film Festival (March 21 – 25), ALFILM Arabic Film Festival (April 3 – 10), or FilmPolska (April 24 – Mai 1). Quite topical is 11 mm International Football Film Festival which takes place March 21 through 25. Don’t forget to check out the amazing Black International Cinema (Mai 10 – 12)! Quite the insiders’ tip still is Sehsüchte International Student Film Festival (April 24 – 28). And if you care for indie movies: Achtung Berlin – the new Berlin film award with screenings and award ceremony between April 10 and 17.

It’s all a show

What’s still missing? Trade shows, obviously. Spring is a little quieter than other times of the year, with big events like ITB in the past and IFA still a few months down the road. That means, that we can focus more on the various amazing small-scale fairs: Like Games Week (April 8 – 14) or the great cycling trade show VeloBerlin (April 27 – 28). One of the most influential conferences on blogging and online media is Re:publica from May 6 through 8. And those who plan a career in Germany and just don’t know where to start find lots of information and great opportunities at Connecticum (May 14 – 16).

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