No need to leave town to get your summer festival fix: here are the best options from inside city limits for the month of August.
Hunting down all of Berlin and Brandenburg’s top-secret open-air hideouts in search of the ultimate drug-fuelled weekend getaway can be absolutely worth it – but it’s also a pain in the ass. Sticking to the more obvious summer festival choices might be less of an exciting scavenger hunt, yet musical treasure troves abound – and luckily, you’ll still be miles away from the Helga!-infested military airports and acres. So, let’s start digging.
Extending its festivities to two days in its second year, By The Lake Festival (Aug 6-7) invites you to Weißensee with a focus on mind-expanding music from Berliners King Khan and The Shrines (photo, above) and Cavern of Anti-Matter, and Moroccan Sufi musicians and Beat Generation faves The Master Musicians of Joujouka. The same weekend, party stronghold About Blank tones it down a little for the eighth Down By The River (Aug 6), in which British indie fave Scout Niblett joins a mostly Berlin-oriented line-up from Masha Qrella to Chuckamuck. The Lily of the Valley Festival is not so much a festival as an ongoing indoor/outdoor event series at Urban Spree; for its fourth edition (Aug 9), expect an eclectic live and DJ’d mix of electronics, hip hop and ambient on three floors.
If you’re still saddened about Oasis splitting in 2009, know that Noel Gallagher will be singing a pastiche of Britpop classics without sulky Liam hogging the mic at the biker-friendly Pure&Crafted Festival at Postbahnhof (Aug 12-13). Mando Diao, Band of Skulls and the Berlin- based Abby are also billed.
Not chill enough for ya? Strænd Festival (Aug 20) at Arena Berlin, boasts Café del Mar flair for city dwellers with performances by Waxhead, Sticky Fingers, Hearbeast and more as well as film screenings. If you dig more intellectually challenging entertainment, Berlin Atonal at Kraftwerk (Aug 24-28) has the right programme for you with Death in Vegas at the helm.
As a final hurrah to Berlin’s festival summer – that is, before Lollapalooza sets out to traumatise Treptow’s residents past bedtime mid-September – Music Board-funded, industry-focussed Pop-Kultur (Aug 31-Sept 2) spreads across Neukölln for its second edition. Those not in the biz will still be treated to an eclectic array of live shows, DJ sets and talks by the usual suspects Mogwai (photo), Thurston Moore, Zola Jesus and Roosevelt, and a rare appearance by Turkish psych godmother Selda Bagcan. Make sure to check out Schwuz, with Fatima Al Qadiri, Liars, rRoxymore and Valerie Trebeljahr. And then get some rest before rolling out the red carpet for Radiohead.