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Pop-Kultur Festival is totally unmissable. Here’re our reasons why.

Whoops! This nearly slipped us by – how did we let this happen? Even a cursory glance at Pop-Kultur’s line-up of bands, artists, talks and exhibitions is enough to tell you this is a very special event. Held between August 23rd-25th on the grounds of the Prenzlauer Berg’s Kulturbrauerei, Pop-Kultur have assembled a lineup that features groundbreaking acts of the moment, established artists that still burn with creativity and innovative thinkers.

Berlin Loves You have picked out their highlights, which you can read about below.

Check out the festival’s programme here to see for yourself.

First up: win tickets

We have 4×2 tickets to give away – email us at [email protected] with the subject “Pop-Kultur” and we’ll pick four winners at random on the 18th.

See A Different Side to Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor

Wednesday / Thursday – 11pm – P.A.N.D.A Theater

We’re all familiar with Alexis Taylor’s distinctive, fragile voice from his day job fronting dance-pop heroes Hot Chip. Away from the synths and festival stages, he’s quietly been carving out a different musical path on his own. Alexis Taylor, the solo artist, crafts introspective and contemplative piano-based songs. With a beguiling melody reliably latched onto each composition, his solo sets at Pop-Kultur (he performs both on Wednesday and Thursday nights) are sure to be spine-tingling affairs. Berlin’s extremely lucky to be hosting this very talented man.

More info here

Hear Golden-Throated Folk Treasure Shirley Collins

Wednesday – 21.40 – Kino in der Kulturbrauerei

Shirley Collins has a lot to answer for. Her pioneering interpretations of folk music, coupled with her distinctive voice and eclectic interests are all immensely influential on the British folk-rock revival in the 1960s and 70s. Not only has she recorded a series of classic folk albums, Collins’ field recordings with American musicologist Alan Lomax are the kinds of things we put in time capsules. After decades with her back turned to the music industry, Collins has been coaxed back onto the stage. Her influence is still acknowledged, with bands such as The Decemberists and Billy Bragg singing her praises. Tonight she is backed by idiosyncratic guitarist Ian Kearey, who contributed to her 2016 comeback album.

Read more here.

Take A Look Inside The Mad Orchestral Mind of Anna Meredith

Thursday – 23.20 – Palais venue

What exactly is going on in Anna Meredith’s head? Too much for us to fathom, that’s for sure. Her music bounces around, compositionally complex yet pushing all the kinds of buttons pop music ought to push. This is kaleidoscopic 21st century music. Think New Pornographers or Young Marble Giants. Anna Meredith is backed by clarinet, tuba, synth, cello. This is going to be a treat.

Read more here.

Watch A Talk On Why Synth Music Is Great

Thursday – 22.00 – Kino in der Kulturbreauerei

David Laurie is the author of a book on the most important instrument of the 20th century (that’s the synth, guitar fans – ok?). Simon Price is a Welsh writer and journalist who, amongst many other things, has penned an excellent book on the Manic Street Preachers. These two extremely opinionated fellas sit down for a chat on the Thursday night of the festival to discuss the history of the synth and its key craftsmen and women. To prove themselves right, they team up again the following night for a synth-laden DJ set. We trust you’ll be in safe hands with these gentlemen…

More info here.

Receive A Musical Punch In The Face From IDLES

Thursday – 23.00 – Frannz Club

IDLES. The best band in the UK right now. No – I won’t hear a word against it. Yes – I was really upset when I saw their recently announced tour of Germany had a gaping Berlin-shaped hole in its schedule. And yes – I was prepared to get on a bus to fucking Münster to see this band. And no – I don’t have to do that now, thank god. IDLES are the gust of musty air wafting into the pristine, sanitised halls of music that we damn well need. Confrontational, self-assured and armed with an extremely original set of tunes, this’ll be the set of the festival. Mark my words.

More info here.

Pay Your Respects to Berlin’s Best Club, Antje Øklesund

berlin pop-kultur festival

Taking Place All Festival – Kulturbrauerei Hof

What makes a ‘perfect’ cultural space? Since Berlin’s best club and music venue Antje Øklesund was demolished, our city has become a much less interesting place for outsider art and underground performances. The Antje Øklesund team actually still exists in exile, and their original headquarters will be resurrected for the festival. The installation displays objects and floor plans from the club, to demonstrate just exactly why and how such cultural spaces are a must-have in all cities.

More info here.

Watch The Best Music Documentary You’ll See This Year

Friday – 19:00 + 22:00 – Kino in der Kulturbrauerei

Sleaford Mods are a band from Nottingham, a city in the English Midlands. They comprise two men in their 40s: Jason shouts expletive-strewn punk poetry whilst Andrew operates the spacebar of his laptop which is balanced on top a pile of beer crates. Together they create vital and vicious music which not only resonates across ‘Brexit Island’ but further afield too. ‘Bunch of Kunst’ documents their snowball rise to fame and recognition whilst providing an intimate look into the lives of the band and those closest to them. It’s at times brutally realistic whilst remaining uplifting and life affirming. Here are two men who have weathered the highs and lows of ‘making it’ in music yet remain refreshingly level headed and focused. An inspiration to us all.

More info here.

Dance To Turkish Synth-Pop


Synth-pop band Jakuzi are one of the most popular acts in Istanbul, and have achieved this despite crushing political opposition to artistic expression by the government. Whilst PayPal has been banned in the country, bands have used the music platform Bandcamp to spread their musical messages around the globe. Jakuzi’s ‘Fantezi Müzik’ playfully mixes a wide variety of pop genres, recalling at times Future Islands or Yeasayer. Recently signed to Berlin’s City Slang label, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of these guys.

More info here.

Well, that’s enough isn’t it? Get your tickets here now.

Visit their website here.

Pop-Kultur Festival
August 23rd-25th
Kulturbrauerei
Schönhauser Allee 36
10435 Berlin

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About Author

Tom is a Welsh musician who writes about music. If you're looking for him, check the nearest Lidl or Eck Kneipe - he's more than certainly in one of the two. [email protected]

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