After spending a frustratingly long period of time searching for the unmarked entrance to Skalitzer Straße 133 and nearly surrendering to the luring aroma of nearby Turkish delights, I finally found the criminally-concealed entry to the “You Are Here Festival.” Greeted by a strong smell of urine in a staircase chock-a-block with graffiti, I knew I was in the right place.
Luckily, the musical landscape of the “anti-festival” festival that unfolded before my eyes superseded my hunger pains and the venue’s initial stench. With local musicians performing live inside a life-size labyrinth, I seemed to have entered the playground for the underground.
The experimental music festival is an experiment in its own right, making it unique even by Berlin’s standards. The limits of artistic ingenuity are tested as performers are pushed to navigate the restrictions imposed by the maze installation, resulting in an unparalleled level of frustration, spontaneity and creativity. Whereas many performances feel overly rehearsed and perfected, “You Are Here Festival” felt fresh as performers, producers, and audience united to create an improvised evening.
The festival also stands out for its emphasis on showcasing a round up of local talent, in contrast to the efforts of most festivals to attract international acts. Sam Hillmer (Co-Founder of The Maze) said, “Our model is going to a community and inviting everyone to be a part of it, and having outsiders become the minority.” Now that’s an idea we can groove to.
For those who missed out on the experience, the festival lasts for two more weeks. Check out the line-up and performer details here