GSBTB’s annual summer extravaganza kicked off with a bang on the festive eve of Fête de la Musique, held each year on June 21. Hosting a bunch of local talent on two musical stages, the event drew a big crowd that included everyone from neighbours, GSBTB community members to activists, workers from organisations, and even children! This time, along with a sick line-up full of raw, real Berlin talent, we also invited a bunch of cool organisations at the forefront of many pertinent social issues that presented their work and provided an opportunity for attendees to get informed and involved.
This time, we boasted an outside musical program, consisting of radical local talent from around Neukölln and beyond, including some cool organisations that we invited to involve our community members and attendees in some important social work being done in Berlin. As always, the outside was decorated in line with the festivities of the day, and people congregated over ice-cream and drinks during the sunny day.
This time, the backyard of Refugio was set up as a colorful, lively little stage where there was a chill zone for people to hang out at, and where performances took place. First up was Paul, who opened the line-up for the musical program by dropping some German verses over catchy hiphop beats.
In the usual fashion, the Refugio Saal boasted a fully-stocked bar (and nice beer courtesy of our friends at Stone Brewing). The stands for the organisations were also set up, and organisations such as Extinction Rebellion, Women in Exile and International Rescue Committee Deutschland were given a platform to showcase their work.
Next up, the stage outside was graced by the fluid reggae beats of Maxwell, who brought us straight up beach vibes and soothing vocals during his performance.
Next up, we had students from our very own Open Music School performing live on the backyard stage. It was smiles and singing all around!
We also had a performance from the GSBTB Open Music Lab organiser Ben Osborn, who was accompanied by Barbara Cuesta on vocals and guitar. Their music was soothing and emotive, indie-folk infused with shadowy electronic beats, beautiful vocals and ambient soundscapes that made you feel like you were taking a stroll through a misty forest.
Indoors, the party started bumping as Glassberg & The Disasters took the stage, performing quirky, upbeat songs dedicated to tax advisors.
The musical program continued with The SchnickSchnack, a German-Japanese pop duo who got people up on their feet with their eccentric songs (containing real 8-bit sounds), vibrant set-up and absolute powerhouse energy!
There were also introductions given by members of IRC Deutschland and Extinction Rebellion, including an evocative speech around feeling responsible about the environment.
The night finished off with the radical sounds of Antinational Embassy, a group born out of the Oranienplatz struggle. Blaring political statements and a saxophone player to boot – it was the perfect finish to an eventful day, and the crowd was still jumping until the end!
Photography by Abeera Atif, Loredana Dobrea and Jana-Nita Raker.