Photo by Libertinus (flickr.com)
Communism is dead! Long live communism! Beginning this Wednesday, June 26, upwards of 70,000 people will gather at a former Soviet military base two hours north of Berlin.
The Soviet Air Force disappeared 20 years ago, but their site has been taken over by a new kind of communism: there are still red flags and Cyrillic letters, but also art projects, left-wing politics and round-the-clock dancing. "Holiday communism" (Ferienkommunismus) means that people can experience a parallel society based on self-organization and freedom from discrimination for at least a few days a year. Welcome to the FUSION festival!
Rather than focussing on a few headliners (the festival programme isn't even published beforehand), more than 20 stages and hangars showcase hundreds of musical acts from all over the world – including plenty of electro but also anything else you can imagine. There are also circus shows, theater, dance, cinema and, well, whatever the visitors organize themselves. What started as a gathering of a few hundred lefties in the mid-1990s has grown exponentially into a mid-size city. But the organizers, lovingly referred to as the "Central Committee", have stuck to their principles: the whole event is non-profit, with proceeds going to improving the festival grounds and supporting left-wing youth culture.
Virtually all of the jobs are done by volunteers: the bars are run by a broad spectrum of left-wing groups, while visitors can work for six hours washing dishes or directing traffic in exchange for half of their ticket price. And instead of uniformed security guards, there are Antifa activists just waiting for a chance to stop racist or sexist behavior.
Tickets are only available by participating in an online raffle back in December of last year. More than twice as many people applied to get one of the 70,000 tickets, even though FUSION has never done any kind of advertising. What if you weren't among the lucky? Then wait until next year! Until last year it was possible to get in for free in exchange for working 12 hours, but that program has been cancelled because the whole site is bursting at the seams.
The FUSION crew reminds us that many people suffered serious hand injuries last year trying to climb over the fence, which was certainly no fun for them. But there is a ray of hope! You can still get in on the last day, when the festival is clearing out: just show up at the "Embassy" (i.e. the entrance) on Sunday after 6am and for €20 you can stay until Monday. Communism is alive and kicking in Mecklenburg, and you can get a 24-hour-taste of it during your holiday.
FUSION festival, Thur Jun 27-Sun Jun 30 | Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V, 17248 Lärz. http://www.fusion-festival.de/