I honestly can’t think of when something like this may have happened before and especially not in Berlin. It’s not just a festival – this is something completely different.
The folks at Michelberger Hotel, long a cultural hotspot of Berlin, situated just off Oberbaum Brücke, has teamed up with some of the world’s biggest indie artists to create an event that, well, is I suppose something like a festival, but taken to a whole other space.
Around eighty of the world’s coolest independent artists
Around eighty of the world’s coolest independent artists, including Bon Iver, Elend Oye of Whitest Boy Alive fame, members of the National, Mouse on Mars, Lisa Hannigan, Damien Rice and countless others (see below for a fullish list) have been invited to spend a week staying at the Michelberger – closed to the public for the week to provide a chilling space and backstage for the artists and their families/entourages, while they also take over for the week the famous Berlin Funkhaus recording complex just down the road.
You will hear things that no one might ever hear again
The idea is that musicians will have the space to get together and try things out, collaborate, create new structures, new formations, new pieces, new songs. And then to present the fruits of this week-long collaboration in the Funkhaus for the public over the weekend of 1-2 October.
Michelberger: “Music from just released albums performed for the very first time. You will hear things that no one might ever hear again. Music straight out of the studio onto the stage. Improvisation and co-work between artists who might never normally find a live environment to come together and play.”
What is the Funkhaus?
Not only a recording complex but a serious slice of Berlin history. Originally an old factory building, when in 1952 the Russians decided they were no longer comfortable broadcasting their socialist radio station from the radio station premises which were now situated in the British zone, they moved the place from where they broadcast their take on the world across the lines into Russian-held territory, and Funkhaus Berlin was born.
The socialist radio idea dwindled into nothingness
And so it was used for the next forty years as the socialist radio station and studio. When the Wall came down the socialist radio idea dwindled into nothingness, until in the early nineties other radio stations came to live there. Meanwhile the studio complex with its perfect acoustic spaces was used by both orchestras and pop stars alike – including A-ha, Sting und die Black Eyed Peas.
With a huge complex, with a variety of rooms, from the largest live room in the world to possibly some of the smallest and everything in between, the complex offers a unique space for this kind of event.
There won’t be an official line-up published; there won’t be a schedule
There won’t be an official line-up published; there won’t be a schedule. The public will be invited and led from room to room and performance to performance – the idea is to break down all the tired old structures and methods, the same old formations and fixed forms.
Why be just a hotel
It’s somehow typical of the Michelberger people to be able to pull something like this off. Why be just a hotel, when you can change the hotel landscape; question what it should mean to be a hotel; when you can casually and spontaneously have some of the most interesting artists using your courtyard as a place to show new and exciting work; to be seen, in a city which is known for its embracing of individuality and independent spirit, as one of the central points for this very spirit of Berlin.
Sneak peek behind the scenes
indieRepublik and indieBerlin has been invited to take a sneak peek behind the scenes during this week of experimentation and collaboration; and we look very much forward to sharing with you what’s going on behind the curtain.
The festival is a not-for-profit, one-off gathering of artists, who are all contributing their time free of fees. Ticket price reflects production costs; there are no sponsors and no commercial interests.
The project was brought together by Aaron Dessner, Stargaze, Brandon Reid, Bryce Dessner, Justin Vernon, the Michelbergers, Ryan Olson and Vincent Moon.
Location is Funkhaus, Nalepastrasse 18
Tickets are 88 Euros for 2 days or 48 Euros for a single day
Each ticket gives access to the main stage and the Vincent Stage at all times. Also to the studio spaces, which will be a mix of partially allocated and first-come-first-served shows, so that everyone has opportunity to experience a variety of shows in different spaces.
Here’s that list of the artists confirmed so far:
ANDRÉ DE RIDDER
CANTUS DOMUS CHOR
ERIC TIMOTHY CARLSON
JAMIE WHITBY COLES
JAN ST. WERNER
JOE JEROME NEWMAN
KRISTÍN ANNA VALTÝSDÓTTIR
PAULINE DE LASSUS
ROSALIND ANNA LEYDEN
S T A R G A Z E
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.