Nation of Gondwana
The Nation of Gondwana (in short: Nation ) is a place since 1995 held annually alternative outdoor - Music Festival (open air) for electronic music . The organizers organize the festival under the name “Pyonen”. It takes place in the outskirts of Berlin , originally in a field near Altlandsberg . Since 1999, a forest clearing with an adjacent lake near Grünefeld , a part of the community of Schönwalde-Glien , has established itself as a permanent venue . Due to an administrative order , only a limited number of guests are permitted on the site. The open-air event is regularly sold out with 8000 visitors.
The name of the festival can be traced back to the Urcontinent Gondwana and was the idea of a friend of the organizers.
The two organizers of the festival held the first techno parties around the Berlin squatter scene in the early 1990s . The idea for the Nation of Gondwana came about after they were no longer admitted during a Love Parade weekend at a party in the bucket with the techno producer The Third Room due to the large number of visitors. They then decided to launch their own open-air event during the Love Parade for the following year. With the help of a bicycle map, they discovered a clearing with an adjacent lake in Brandenburg as an event location.
Initially with around 1500 visitors, the festival has since taken place on a weekend in July and has continued even after the Loveparade has temporarily ended. In addition to classic DJ sets, different music and art performances took place several times. For example in 1997 the appearance of a punk band. In 1998, gas pipes were laid in the lake to let it go up in fire during a performance by an American opera singer. The festival caused financial difficulties this year due to the high costs and heavy rain.
The festival was first held in Grünefeld in 1999.
In 2001 3500 visitors were counted. This year, heavy rain caused problems again.
In 2002, at a community council meeting in the neighboring village of Börnicke, there were complaints about music that was too long and loud, which was set up together with a list of signatures, and the threat to apply for an injunction. At the community meeting, only one person spoke out in favor of the event. In a joint conversation in October 2001, to which only two other residents from Börnicke appeared in addition to the mayor, the organizers assured that the volume would be reduced by 25 percent in the future and again at night. The threat of an injunction was then withdrawn.
In 2003 the Nation of Gondwana took place at Dammsmühle Castle. Between 4:30 and 6 a.m. the music had to be turned off this year due to a resident complaint. In 2006 the festival had to contend with heavy rain again.
Since the weather only got better in 2011 shortly before the start of the event and the majority of the guests did not arrive until Saturday, this led to a major traffic jam in the area and presented the organizers and the police with difficulties in regulating traffic.
In 2015, there were around 25 complaints about music that was too loud, although despite an approved A reading of 55 decibels, only 37 to 46 decibels of actual volume were measured. This was attributed to the so-called C-value of the bass, which could not be measured.
On June 20, 2018, the Nation of Gondwana was thematized with the participation of one of the organizers in the culture committee of the Landtag Brandenburg in order to discuss economic and cultural opportunities that such events could offer the State of Brandenburg. In particular, bureaucratic hurdles such as a required forest conversion permit were criticized, which would make it unnecessarily difficult to hold festivals. MEPs like Henryk Wichmann (CDU) and Isabelle Vandré (Die Linke) spoke out in favor of clear relief.
The members of the parliamentary group of the AfD Brandenburg Thomas Jung and Andreas Kalbitz made a small question about the Nation of Gondwana in 2018. In it, they asked the state government, among other things, whether and to what extent the event was funded by the state government, how many crimes were committed at the event, how high the costs for the police operations were, whether there were previously convicted people among the organizers and whether the state government had any findings about whether there were people among the participants or the private security forces who are assigned to the extremist scene. The request was one of several requests from the AfD about the cultural scene and was criticized as an attack on artistic freedom and an attempt to intimidate artists.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic , the Nation of Gondwana fell out in 2020. Instead, on the weekend of the originally planned event date, a 24-hour live stream with various DJ sets was broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and via the Chaos Computer Club's streaming service, which had previously been recorded on the festival site.
The light installations with different lasers and projections are installed every year by several light artists and collectives.
Musically, the Nation of Gondwana focuses on electronic dance music and has always offered space for other genres such as rock'n'roll, trance, punk, jazz, dub or jungle. Regular DJs are and were, among others, Gianni Vitiello , The Third Room , Sven Dohse and Monika Kruse . Furthermore, the line-up offers a mix of Berlin DJs and international DJs every year.
In the meantime there were one to five dance floors. In the meantime, the four different dance floors have established themselves on the site:
- Wiese: the largest dance floor with an emphasis on techno
- Lake: the second largest dance floor on the beach of the Kiessee with more house beats (sometimes also called "beach")
- Spelunke: a smaller dance floor near the lake with a focus on downbeat
- At Birke: the youngest dance floor on a single birch tree offers space for (female) newcomer DJs
There are also several smaller stages with an interactive and artistic program. Since the event site is only rented, the entire festival infrastructure is completely rebuilt about a week in advance.
Camping is possible on the premises for guests from Fridays and such as drinking water and shower facilities are included in the entry price. To keep the place clean, a garbage deposit is charged. Medical care is provided by the Red Cross. A limited number of tickets has been available for car parking spaces since 2014. A guarded “bicycle cloakroom” for a fee has also been offered since 2017. As an alternative to arriving by car, there is a free shuttle service. There is a special awareness concept against sexual violence at the event.
The Nation of Gondwana is organized by the artist collective “Pyonen”. The name refers to the also named day laborers from the novel The Desert Planet by Frank Herbert.
In addition to the Nation of Gondwana, the organizers have been involved in the production of the Chaos Communication Camp , which takes place every four years, since 1999 and were represented with a music car at the Carnival of Cultures .
Cooperation with community and region
The nearest town, Grünefeld , will be included in the event. In addition to the cooperation with various local suppliers, several villagers are involved in the preparations for the event. The community and associations help with the clean-up work. Young people from the locality have the opportunity to help with the construction work in return for free participation in the festival. The local fire brigade and the Grünefeld senior citizens' club operate refreshment stands during the event. The festival has traditionally been opened by the Grünefelder women's choir since 2014.
In 2013, the organizers donated the proceeds from the festival to a community playground. For the following year, a donation for the local daycare center and a professional cleaning of the 300 square meter lake, which was carried out using a sand cleaning machine from Kloster Lehnin , was promised .
According to the organizer, contracts worth EUR 500,000 are awarded annually to companies from Havelland and neighboring districts.
Cooperation with the BTU Cottbus
The Nation of Gondwana and the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg have cooperated regularly since 2011 . On the festival site, various wooden sculptures up to five meters high will be exhibited next to the dance floors, which were developed as a semester project by architecture students in their second semester in structural engineering. The sculptures are illuminated in different colors and provide orientation points on the festival site.
The flyer for the event were tailored usually on postage stamp size since the mid-1990s, laminated plates, on which some photographs of past events were imaged by photographer friend. The author Anja Schwanhäußer describes the concept behind the format in her book Cosmonauts of the Underground: Ethnography of a Berlin Scene as follows:
“Because of their small size, they disregard the rules of“ attention management ”. They do not play themselves in the foreground, but on the contrary deliberately keep themselves hidden. The fact that they are discovered nonetheless (as long as you don't get the flyers in your hand anyway) is due to the fact that the actors in the scene are trained to observe closely. The Pyons work with this sensitivity. "
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