It’s that time of year again ladies and germs, boys and squirms, that time when the usually indoor pastime of raving to techno beats, leaves the clubs and hits the streets… of Kreuzberg. If you’re not a total n00b in Berlin then you’ve probably guessed that I am of course talking about Erste Mai, Labour Day, Tag der Arbeit, May 1st, Mayday or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. For the uninitiated among you, this is a yearly clusterfunk which takes place all over the Kreuzberg area located roughly between Schlesiches & Kottbusser Tor, with almost every Tom, Dirk and Harold in the kiez setting up an outdoor sound system.
Sometimes there are moments where the music is so good it gets you sonically wetter than a cup of tea, like the time Nathan Jonson dropped Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker just as the heavens opened up and rain poured down on a sweaty Spreewaldplatz crowd. Other times, it can be tongue-in-cheek downright hilarious as evidenced last year when one particular Skalitzerstrasse party began blasting N.W.A.’s ‘Fuck tha Police’ in response to the authorities’ attempts to get them to turn down their sound. There are of course times where the music is so bad, so so sooo bad, that you’ll wish you’d never left the cozy environs of your swish Prenzlauerberg duplex and wandered into what feels like a musical warzone, but that my friends is the beauty of this great day.
To help you in your quest for beats I’ve divided the festivities up into three separate areas and picked a couple of parties where the music should be a safe bet.
Area 1: NoGoPa
NoGoPa stands for the area North of Görlitzer Park, which is a term I just made up now, and I think you’ll admit, is about as catchy as HPV. For arguments sake NoGoPa includes Wrangelkiez, Skalitzerstrasse, Schelischesstrasse and the nearby Spreeside.
Der erste Pie // Hellogoodpie BBQ Openair
Always nice to see people we’ve written about in the past continue to do well, and HelloGoodPie are no exception. Since our interview with them just over 2 years ago, they’ve gone from a food truck, to a permanent pie restaurant on Falckensteinstr, and now with a house and disco open air with DJs such as Timothy Blake, they have truly arrived.
Tanz auf der Spree at Eastern Comfort Hostelboat
Sort of cheating as they are located technically on the Friedrichshain side of the Spree just beside Oberbaumbruecke, but this is a party on a boat, with a hoard of top Techno DJs such as Diarmaid O Meara and House music maestros like Neil Flynn, so it would be rude not to include such a special event.
Koffäin Open Air
Join this Skalitzerstrasse coffeeshop and the folks from Be-At TV who will stream the event live, with the likes of Santé, Sidney Charles Simon (Andhim), Re.You, and Ninetoes getting involved.
First of May // Official Opening at Club der Visionaere
Ever wanted to know what it feels like to be a techno sardine? Then head on down to CDV and catch one of the many big name DJs who drop by every year and play to a dancefloor the size of your bedroom. As ever the line up is kept “anonymous” but basically it is Ricardo Villalobos, Zip and host of other big hitters. Warning: The above image is the opposite of what it will be on May 1st. Notice the sardines have space in this photo. This will not be the case.
1 May (Freier Eintritt) with DJ T., Hashman Deejay, Hiver, Steve Huerta & More at Chalet
This one does exactly as it says on the tin, with DJ T and a load of friends taking over Chalet, which will be free to enter.
Area 2: AOS (Around OranienStrasse)
There’s a not so old saying that I also just made up which goes “AOS ist absolut chaos“. If you’ll forgive the awful rhyme, the sentiment holds true as it can take 45 minutes to advance 45 metres on Oranienstrasse on May 1st. Yes, partying in the AOS zone can be a tight little affair so be prepared, bring social lube or you might be bummed to find you’ve been left behind.
This is the main reason dat AOS is so tight. I’m not really sure what this official part of the May 1st celebrations stands for anymore. The music seems like a strange mix of punk and rock, so if you hate electronic music and love to mosh, this is the one for you. There were threats to Myfest’s very existence last year so it may be on the way out.
1. Mai Open Air N°8 / 2016 / LOVE Müller x Vabrique
Formerly of Spreewaldplatz, the folks at Locke Mueller have upped sticks and moved on to pastures new, but the May 1st party is a hard habit to give up and so they set up stall at Vabrique on Oranienstrasse. Iron Curtis, Ron Wilson, and Charlie Smooth are but a few of the fine DJs who will bring the heat on the day.
I have no idea what this will be like but they promise good food, good drinks and music on…… #### TWO HEAVY SOUNDSYSTEMS.
So probably just like the rest of Myfest then!
If you want to escape the madness make for Monarch at 10pm and catch local connoisseur of exotic klang, DJ Jimmy Trash do his thing from the comfort of Kotti. The bonus here is the view of the streets from above. Safe.
Area 3: SpreeGoWiener
I stopped trying when it came to naming this one, yes, it’s the area around Spreewald Platz, Görlitzer Park and Wienerstrasse. Kudos if you got that one all by yourself.
Chaiwallahs 1 mai open air
Phat Old School hip hop beats, and tasty Indian Streetfood treats. This one is a safe bet to be a good break from the techno.
Piri’s and Radler’s Mayday Block Party!
Another safe bet for good music, great beer, and some of Berlin’s finest burgers. These guys have rocked it each of the last two years, so swing by and sample the delights.
1 Mai Open Air – Bourbon Dogs
Taking over from the Locke Mueller guys at their old location, recently arrived Spreewaldplatz watering hole Bourbon Dogs try their hand at the open air lark, and with safe sets of hands like Nico Stojan, La Fleur, and badass nice guy Jake the Rapper, they’re sure to carry the torch long into the night.
Bohnengold are also doing there on Reichenberger, if you’re in the area stop by!
1st May, Open Air Görlitzer Area – MongolfiereLibere/DaDaRevolution
Once again, I’ve no idea who these people are, but they seem to have reclaimed the former May 1st stronghold that is the Görlitzer Park as their HQ, so more power to ’em.
1: Keisha Engelen 2: HGP 3: BP 4: CDV 5: Timor Kodal 6:Luzia
7: Thomas Neukum 8: Piris 9: Locke Mueller