I hadn’t heard of Reverberation Festival for Psychedelic Music & Art, a three day event in Dresden that took place last weekend (March 1st-3rd).
As someone who froths at the mouth when anything psych-music related is mentioned, I find that surprising. Actually, if it hadn’t been for a warm up show featuring synth-wave/punk band No Waves at 8MM, I probably never would’ve found out about it. So I have to think there are others out there who remain clueless as to the festival’s existence. And that’s a shame.
Not that the festival was poorly attended. By the end- the middle even- of each night, audience members could hardly keep the frantic dancing going, let alone fit in the room (especially Saturday).
It’s also fair to say that the event was at least somewhat efficiently promoted, with four warm-up shows in Berlin (as mentioned above), Prague, Leipzig, and Dresden. Nonetheless, it felt like a pretty small local affair, and given the amazing lineup featuring some of the most exciting new psych talent in Europe and the festival’s proximity to Berlin, (not to mention the fact that barely anything exciting happens at this time of year) I definitely found that strange.
The atmosphere was warm, homey, social, actually quite different than the feel of gigs in Berlin.
Though Reverberation’s size was more of an added bonus than a deterrent. The atmosphere was warm, homey, social, actually quite different than the feel of gigs in Berlin. The event’s host, Flux Wildly introduced each artist and acted as an MC in the traditional sense, guiding the crowd through the weekend. This was a charming personal touch that felt caring and welcoming; it was obvious how invested he was in the festival.
This could also be felt in the attention paid to detail and decoration. There were many festive DIY elements that somebody clearly spent a lot of time on: mushrooms made of red umbrellas and styrofoam, trippy glistening mountains and curtains, clouds hanging from the ceiling.
The psychedelic wonderland effect was definitely achieved and demonstrated real effort on the part of the organizers, something which isn’t so common in smaller scale events anymore.
Of course, the best part of Reverberation was the lineup.
There were also DJ’s rolling with the theme between and after the live shows as well as interactive art performances, mixing things up to ensure no one got bored. I don’t see how this would have been possible, but it was definitely a lot of music to take in so the thought was relevant. Some of these happenings included a performative piece featuring artist David Lau intermingling with the audience and going on a rant, as well as a electronic video piece, and light installation in a tent outside.
Of course, the best part of Reverberation was the lineup. It’s decision to feature young, under-the-radar psych bands was something that made it quite exceptional. Other existing psych festivals usually feature artists that are somewhat succesful on an international level already, with smaller supporting acts. Reverberation was purely emerging talent. Of course, some artists were more well-known than others, but still generally maintaining enough underground credibility to ignite the crate-digger thrill.
Friday and Sunday were smaller, more low-key nights in the Ostpol venue, featuring Leipzig-based Kamala and greek band, Chickn, then swiss solo artist Melissa Kassab, Biche from France, and internationally reknowned, italian New Candys respectively.
The main event was definitely Saturday night, with folky band Ogrom Circus kicking off the night as the room filled in. From then it was a slow build through the evening, as every new band that came on provoked the thought “ok, no THIS is my favorite for sure”. Always good news.
The night was a wild colorful trip to say the least
Interestingly enough, each band lived up to its psychedelic identity in a totally different way, making the show feel expertly curated. With six bands playing music from a same genre in a row, things could have quickly gotten repetitive. Instead, things got seriously impressive, with a full diaspora of psychedelic music on display, from Ukrainian Tik Tu’s spellbinding electro-pop, to Ouzo Bazooka’s oriental-laced rock’n’roll, Berlin’s own Fenster with their smooth sound and comical time change-ups, Slift’s mind bending hardcore kraut madness, complete with an exhilarating light show, and Mauskovic Dance Band’s groovy exotica.
The night was a wild colorful trip to say the least, and the festival a web of hallucinatory dreams. The Reverb team had better get hold of a bigger venue next year, is all I’m saying!