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May 1

May 1, 2023: What to do on International Workers’ Day

MyFest is cancelled, but there is still plenty going on this May 1 in Berlin. Here's the best, from protests to parties, demos and dancing.

Demonstrations for Revolutionary May 1. Photo: IMAGO/Müller-Stauffenberg

Raves, Rummel and revolution: May 1st has it all. 

With so many events around International Workers’ Day, there’s plenty of exciting ways to kick off next month. So whether you’re trying to seize the means of production or just seize the long weekend, here’s a list of Berlin’s biggest protests and parties leading up to and happening on May 1st. 

Revolutionary May Day

A protestor sets fire to a bin at the Revolutionary May 1 demonstration 2021. Photo: IMAGO/Nicolaj Zownir

Ready for revolution? Comrades against capitalism can take part in an integral piece of Berlin’s history of leftwing activism: The annual Revolutionary May Day demonstration, undoubtedly one of the most important events happening on International Workers’ Day. Though the holiday has existed since 1890, this particular protest got started in 1987, when police launched an unprovoked attack on a peaceful street festival. The Kiezaufstand (or ‘neighbourhood uprising’) that followed kickstarted the holiday’s now well-established tradition of demonstrations.

  • Revolutionary May Day Demonstration Meeting point: U-Bahnhof Boddinstr., details.

Slust Openair Rave

May 1 demonstrators. Photo: IMAGO/Müller-Stauffenberg

While Kreuzberg’s annual ‘Myfest’ won’t be taking place this year, Mariannenplatz will still be bustling with parties and protests – like the Slust Openair Rave. Featuring activist speeches, family activities and live music from rap to techno, the event combines partying with politics, even including a little break in the program for those who want to join the annual Revolutionary May Day demonstration. 

  • Slust Openair Rave Mariannenplatz 1, details

Maifest with DIE LINKE

Musicians perform on stage at DIE LINKE’s Maifest. Photo: IMAGO/snapshot/K M Krause

Raves won’t be the only type of party at Mariannenplatz this May 1st, though – DIE LINKEN of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg will be there, too. Talk policy with party-members, listen to political discussions moderated by one of Berlin’s favourite drag queens, and enjoy food and drinks as musicians take the stage. 

  • Maifest der LINKEN Mariannenplatz, details

German Federation of Trade Unions Rally

Demonstrators hold up protest signs at DGB’s May 1 rally in 2022. Photo: IMAGO/IPON

As Germany’s biggest federation of trade unions, the DGB organises annual rallies for workers’ rights every May 1st. This year, they’re extending an open invitation to their rally at the Rotes Rathaus under the motto “unbroken solidarity” in the face of today’s unsettled sociopolitical climate (and ecological climate, while we’re at it). The event will begin with speeches by union members before transitioning into a festival later in the day, with food, drinks and kid-friendly activities to participate in. 

  • Rotes Rathaus Rathausstr. 15, details

MyGruni Demonstration in Grunewald

MyGruni’s demonstrations have been a part of International Workers’ Day for several years now. Photo: IMAGO/snapshot

MyGruni is putting on a tongue-in-cheek climate protest in Grunewald on International Workers’ Day. Satirising multinational energy company RWE with the motto “Reichtum Wird Enteignet” (or ‘wealth will be ousted’) in their criticism of the upper classes’ disproportionate role in global CO2 emissions, MyGruni is interested in excavating a different kind of Kohle from the area – a word that usually means coal, but crucially can also mean cash. Save the planet and fight the power through parody!

  • MyGruni Demonstration Meeting point: Johannaplatz, details

1st of May on the Spree

Sage Beach bar on the Spree. Photo: IMAGO/Dirk Sattler

Burnt out from all the protesting? Spend a relaxing afternoon at Sage Beach on the Spree, where you can soak up some sun, stroll along art and food stalls, watch circus performances and listen to some of the city’s best DJ’s work their musical magic. 

  • Sage Beach Köpenicker Str. 18-20, details

Family festival at ufaFabrik

The ufaFabrik sign by night. Photo: IMAGO/Frank Sorge

Cultural centre ufaFabrik is putting on a special family festival on May 1st, complete with carnival games, live music and food fresh off the grill. The event covers the entire grounds, including the petting zoo – which means kids will also have the chance to go on pony rides and make some other fuzzy new friends.

  • ufaFabrik Viktoriastr. 10-18, details.

International Workers’ Day at Haus Natur und Umwelt

A family on their way to Haus Natur und Umwelt. Photo: IMAGO/Schöning

While the Haus Natur und Umwelt is normally closed on Mondays, they’re making an exception on May Day to offer children and families the opportunity to spend their day off enjoying barbecued bites, playing on their adventure-playground and getting up close and personal with nature via their petting zoo. 

  • Haus Natur und Umwelt An der Wuhlheide 169, details.

Walpurgis Night

People celebrating Walpurgis Night in Mauerpark. Photo: IMAGO/snapshot/K.M. Krause

While May Day is an important holiday, let’s not forget the night before: Walpurgis Night. In German folklore, the last night in April is when witches congregate on the peak of the Brocken (or Blocksberg) for satanic rituals – but now it’s mostly just a good excuse to party. Head to parks and event locations across the city for music, dancing, fire shows and other fun outdoor activities to end April with a bang.

  • Walpurgisnacht Mauerpark Eberswalder Str. 1, details.
  • Walpurgisnacht Strandbad Wendenschloss Möllhausenufer 30, details.
  • Tanz in den Mai Goerzwerk Goerzallee 299, details

Dance into May

Kulturbrauerei by day. Photo: IMAGO/POP-EYE

If you’d rather ring in the new month indoors, Kulturbrauerei’s ‘dance into May’ event is the place to be. With 9 unique floors that are each dedicated to a different music genre but all accessible with a single ticket, there’s enough variety at this venue to keep you dancing until the sun comes up. What better way to say hello to Summer!

  • Kulturbrauerei Knaackstr. 97, details