Our documentary: »Pop-Kultur – A Festival for Everyone«

What can a festival look like – how should it look – to be as accessible as possible for everyone? For our 2019 edition, we considered this topic more carefully then ever before. Together with the nonprofit Sozialhelden, we produced a short documentary video at Pop-Kultur 2019 to show in detail the steps we took to make the festival more inclusive.

More information about accessible event planning and funding for inclusive projects can be found at www.ramp-up.me and www.musicboard-berlin.de

Pop-Kultur 2019 is over: a thank-you

We’ve come down to Earth, back in one piece, exhausted but very happy. Thank to all of the artists and, of course, the visitors who made Pop-Kultur 2019 and unforgettable festival!

Mykki Blanko @ Kesselhaus – Photo: Christoph Mangler
Whether it was Mykki Blanco letting it rain flowers, Anna Calvi bending knees, 21 Downbeat with Jens Friebe plowing through the lawns of the green hill or KlitClique like a moth to a flame, the first day was already full of moments that are rarely experienced. The trend continued in the commissioned work by Rosaceae and in the talks and readings with the likes of Dirk von Lowtzow as well as in the »Çaystube« by Nuray Demir and Yeşim Duman. There, they continued for over three days with performances and sets by artists such as Derya Yıldırım, while the main programme with Die Goldenen Zitronen, CocoRosie, Lali Puna, Shabazz Palaces, alyona alyona, Die Kerzen and One Mother, and there was barely time for a breather with the commissioned works by Magic Island, International Music & The Dorf, Janto Djassi Roessner and ANDRRA. Coming together was a big part of our journey: whether thematic focal points such as »African Beats & Pieces« and the inaugural »Goethe Residency« with ByLwansta and Robot Koch and, of course, the »Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs« workshop programme, Pop-Kultur 2019 was above all about joining forces, and it’s clear that we’ve accomplished the mission. We want to thank all of you for your contributions – and we’re looking forward to next year!

You can find all pictures here:
»Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs«

Pop-Kultur lokal: Call for Concepts


Deadline: 6 March 2019, 10 a.m. / The application form is available here and must be sent as a PDF to info@pop-kultur.berliheren.

Since 2018 »Pop-Kultur« has been operating a new program called »Pop-Kultur lokal«: a subsidized monthly music event series that runs from mid-April to mid-July. Each event takes place at a different location and is organized by one of four different local event organizers and venues.

We’d like to invite all interested Berlin-based event organizers to submit a PDF of their application form (see above/below) via email by 10 a.m. on 6 March 2019. The funding for each event is awarded as a one-time payment of €2,000 and is meant to cover the concept, featured artists, and realization. Admission to the events themselves must be free.

The main focus of this program is live performances by Berlin-based musicians, although it’s possible to combine these with DJ sets or talks (all participants should be based in Berlin). When planning the content of each event, please ensure that female artists make up 50% of the overall program. Applicants are required to ensure barrier-free access to the event and should try to include people with disabilities in their line-ups. Applications that exhibit a commitment to diversity will be given preference.

The jury that determines which events receive funding is composed of the following six people: DENA (musician), Michael Aniser (Off-Kultur), Dominique Schweizer (Amiont), Anton Teichmann (Off-Kultur), Ella Zwietnig (musician, UMA), as well as Matthieu Jimenez (Pop-Kultur). »Pop-Kultur lokal« will be connected to the official festival communications office and will receive financial and marketing support from the festival.

The events will take place once a month beginning in April 2019, always on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Preference will be given to event organizers who have not yet received funding from Musicboard.

The application form is available here and must be sent as a PDF to info@pop-kultur.berliheren.


Pop-Kultur will be turning five!

Next year our festival will take place from the 21st until the 23rd of August 2019 – again at Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg. As always we’ll be using a dozen venues, from the Gewölbekeller, the vaulted cellar ten metres below the ground, to the intimate RambaZamba Theater and the monolithic Kesselhaus!

We are starting ticket sales immediately with a cheap 3-day festival ticket called »Vorteil« (meaning ›advantage‹), which will be valid for all events and does not just offer itself as a Christmas present. We will not announce the names of the artists until next year, until then we will reward your trust in us with the discounted »Vorteil« ticket, which you can now buy for 40 € plus fees via our website.

Impressions of this year’s edition of the festival are provided by our retrospective film »Hindsight«, which can now also be found on our website (and on YouTube). On YouTube, in the next few weeks, we will also continue to post footage of conversations and »Pop Kultur Nachwuchs« workshops that took place this year – another retrospective that will inspire you in the future!

Photo: NASA, ESA, and S. Beck with (STScI) and the HUDF Team


The time has finally come!

Dear friends of Pop-Kultur!

The time has finally come: on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, as guests at the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg, we will present our Commissioned Works, i.e. world premieres of music performances, concerts, talks, readings, films, and an exhibition, all specially produced for us. We’ve been busy for an entire year preparing for these three days. If you’d like to learn everything there is to know about the status quo of pop in the year 2018, you’ve come to the right place.

Let yourself wander and drift — after all, the most impressive experiences are often the ones we aren’t prepared for! And the most standout concerts are often the ones given by artists we never knew existed.

What’s left to say? Well, not much. We’ve described our programme in detail in past newsletters; you can find extensive information about all of our artists on Facebook and Instagram, both leading up to and during the festival; and of course you can also continue to consult our website. Visit our Ticketshop to purchase day passes and festival passes as well as 5€ tickets for the film and talk programme.

If we don’t see each other there, we’ll be hearing from each other again over the next year. We promise!

Warm regards,


Border Movement/ Cooperation/ Sign Language Interpretation and Accessibility/ Pop-Kultur lokal

Dear Friends of Pop-Kultur!

We have some news to announce. You can learn more about our comprehensive programme on our website, where you can also buy day and festival passes as well as €5 talk and film tickets.

Additions to the Commissioned Works

Since its founding in 2012, the Berlin-based and Goethe-Institute-funded platform Border Movement has seen itself as a »cultural catalyst« and as such it values interactions—especially those between Germany and the South Asia region. On two different festival days at Club 23 (August 15th + 16th), the activist and journalist Sarah Chawla (New Delhi, India), the musician Mohamed Manal (Malé, Maldives), and others will represent the bandwidth of Border Movement’s work with concerts, DJ sets, and talks. The Berlin artists Anika,Dan Bodan, and (most recently) She’s Drunk have all participated in the exchange programme, and now the Pakistani artist Natasha Humera Ejaz aka Stupid Happiness Theory will come to the German capital from Islamabad.

Cooperation with the Museum in the Kulturbrauerei

Most documentaries about 1968 seem convinced of the idea that that particular year was a »pop« phenomenon. Beat and rock music are considered parts of a »soundtrack of the revolution« and Che Guevara posters are regarded as icons of political pop. If you look directly at the sources of time, though, things can sound quite different: in 1968, »Leave your guitars in the corner and talk to each other!« was a pop-friendly command generated at the Festival Chanson – Folklore International at Burg Waldeck in Hunsrück, one of the birthplaces of the German-language protest song. As part of a cooperation with the Museum in the Kulturbrauerei, the cultural historian Bodo Mrozek (Chair of Theory and History of Popular Music, HU Berlin) will discuss withKathrin Fahlenbrach (Professor of Media Studies at the University of Hamburg) and Berlin writer Bernd Cailloux (author of »The Fiscal Year 1968/69«). Entrance for the talk on August 16th is free.

Sign Language Interpretation (DGS)

As an interpreter of German sign languageLaura Schwengber has accompanied concerts and music videos by AnnenMayKantereit and the Babelsberger Filmorchester and translated Deutsch rap songs for a deaf audience with her entire body. At Pop-Kultur she will interpret the following programme elements: Kat Frankie’s commissioned work »Bad Behavior: Exploring the Sounds of Protest« (August 17th), the joint talk by Lizzie Doron and Klaus Ledererunder the title »Boycott« (August 15th), and the play and accompanying talk »Rausch Royal«, the commissioned work by the RambaZamba Theatre (August 16th + August 17th).


It is important to us that our festival be as barrier-free as possible. Detailed information about accessibility at our various venues can be found on our websiteFor further information please contact us by mail. 

Pop-Kultur lokal

The series »Pop-Kultur lokal«, which has made stops at Monarch, Refugio Berlin, and Schrippe Hawaii, will come to a close on July 18th and 19th at Loophole, Boddinstraße 60. Under the title »Invincibility«, six works commissioned by Loophole will be presented live by the artists ANY, Marta Zapparoli, and WJM (July 18th) as well as Angelic Sintesis, Greta Christensen, and Maria Jiki (July 19th). Entrance is free!

Warm greetings,


Live Programme and Commissioned Works / Talks, Lectures, and Films / Talks and Film Tickets

Dear Friends of Pop-Kultur!

Our programme is now complete, and it includes a total of about 100 events – phew!

Additions to the Live Programme

Before we offer a little glimpse into our programme of talk, panel, film, and exhibitions, there’s some big news on the live music front: The Last Poets are coming to perform for us. This group of African-American musicians and poets was founded in 1968 in Harlem. If it hadn’t been for them, it wouldn’t have been for rap, basically. Also new to the programme: North America’s … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Belgium’s Choolers Division, and Norway’s Sassy 009.

Talks and Lectures

The social, cultural, political and economic action of boycotting has been a recurring theme throughout the life of Israeli writer Lizzie Doron, who will speak with Klaus Lederer, Berlin’s Senator for Culture and Media, on the first evening of the festival. Here Lederer summarises the topic from his perspective: »Is the boycott of art and of cultural exchange an effective method of bringing about change and rapprochement in a complex conflict? I doubt it very much. Such boycotts harden fronts where art dialogues might make progress. Calls for boycott against Israel are defined by demonisation and double standards, and they serve and promote anti-semitic thinking patterns«. Meanwhile, the author Josefine Rieks (»Serverland«) promises »a combination of contemporary lecture und classic YouTube party«, and more talks traverse topics like the disappearance of subcultural spaces (Kosmetiksalon Babette, Jonny Knüppel) and the new communication style between fans and artists (one of the talks initiated by journalist Salwa Houmsi, with rapper Ahzjumjot and Backspin editor-in-chief Kevin Rühländer) or act as components of our commissioned works.

Commissioned Works

In the commissioned work »Pop-Hayat« curated by Yeşim Duman, the Golden Pudel resident, ByteFM presenter, female:pressure activist, and event organiser condenses her involvement in the queer club scene and the post-migrant discourse, bringing a diverse array of creative types onto the stages of our festival. Her project encompasses a screening of the film »Shakedown« as well as round-table discussions with writer Fatma Aydemir, rapper Lady Bitch Ray, MISSY Magazine journalist Hengameh Yaghoobifarah, and the artists Ebru Düzgün aka Ebow aka Gaddafi Gals. As another part of »Pop-Hayat«, we will set up the installation »T-Unlimited – the Pop-Hayat Çaystube« by the Berlin artist Nuray Demir in front of the Soda Club. And we’ve even put Friday night’s closing party at Frannz Club in Duman’s hands.

When in doubt, Lydia Lunch has always been in favor of being against things. Fittingly, the movement she and her contemporaries built in late-1970s New York was called No Wave. Because punk didn’t go far enough in its break with rock’n’roll, Lunch and her kindred spirits pushed the abandoned genre to its extreme, i.e. until it was on its very head. So where was No Wave headed, and where is it heading now? Lunch will answer these questions via a special commissioned work, a discussion, and a workshop.

Irmin Schmidt played with the best band in the world and hasn’t stopped writing »Musikgeschichten« [»Music Stories«] since. On three evenings at Pop-Kultur, he will share memories from a long life and show films that he himself or his band CAN set to music. Alongside screenings of »Mord in Eberswalde« [»Murder in Eberswalde«] and »Deadlock«, Schmidt will speak with Stephan Wagner, the director of the »Mord in Eberswalde«, about the movie’s soundtrack. TAZ editor Ulrich Gutmair will present the composer with recordings of unfamiliar music, and Schmidt will speak with the writer Max Dax about the recently-published band biography »All Gates Open: The Story of Can«.

The Full Programme

For detailed information about all programme elements, including those we couldn’t mention here because of limited space, visit our website—plus we’re also pretty darn active on Facebook and Instagram.

Tickets for Talks and Films

As was the case last year, we’re offering tickets—one for each of the three festival days—that allow entrance to all the given day’s talks and film screenings. They cost €5 + fees.

Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs

The deadline for our »Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs« workshop programme has passed. We’re looking forward to reviewing 779 applications from 63 countries and to welcoming illustrious mentors such as moderator Salwa Houmsi and artists such as ANDRRA, Balbina, Ilgen-Nur, International Music, Swutscher, and Vivien Goldman.

Pop-Kultur Lokal

The series »Pop-Kultur lokal«, which until now has taken place at Monarch and Refugio Berlin, will make another stop on June 20th at Schrippe Hawaii with the event »Mash Banger«. See you there!

Best wishes,


Day Tickets Now on Sale / Further Acts for PK Live

Day Tickets Now on Sale / Further Acts for PK Live: ANDRRA & DIVES / Pop-Kultur Lokal on May 24th at Refugio

Dear Friends of Pop-Kultur,

Starting today you can buy day passes! These tickets cost €25 + fees and provide entry to all— that’s right, all— daytime events, as long as the capacity of the respective venues hasn’t been exceeded. Also available is the festival pass, which costs €60 plus fees. You can find out who plays when and where on our website, though of course we hope you’ll make it to the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg on all three festival days.

We’ll also take this opportunity to announce two other recent pieces of news: the live programme now includes the Austrian rock band DIVES and the Berlin-based Rosenheim native, former Musicboard scholarship holder and Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs alumni ANDRRA, whose political, well-informed pop still takes our breath away.

You can find extensive information about all of our announced programme elements on our website as well as on Facebook and Instagram. We will provide details about our talks, panels, and film screenings on June 19th.

Any readers of this newsletter looking for an entry into the music industry or interested in receiving tips about their music careers from established colleagues should apply immediately for our workshop programme »Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs«. The application deadline has just been extended to June 12th.

Our series »Pop-Kultur lokal« had a very successful start last month in the Kreuzberg club Monarch. The second event of the series will take place on May 24th at Refugio Berlin in Neukölln (Lenaustraße 3-4, 12047 Berlin). »New City Sounds #1« is organised by GSBTB – Open Music School. Starting at 4 pm, it will offer music workshops for women. This will be followed by a podium discussion focusing on the situation for Berlin-based female musicians with migration backgrounds. It will ask: is the Berlin music scene as open as we think? The live programme then features appearances by GSBTB students and performances by Yaramiso, AVIA, Party Fears, and Adi Amati + MELI & Hz8.

Warmest greetings,


Background, facts, and our official statement about the boycott against Pop-Kultur 2018


Pop-Kultur is funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe of the State of Berlin, the European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF), and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Individual artists can receive support from the national cultural institute or embassy of their respective country, and this is a common practice within international cultural exchange. We cooperate with all countries officially recognised by the Federal Republic of Germany. Partners and sponsors have no influence over the programming of the festival. Our cooperation with the cultural institutions of individual countries depends on the artistic decisions made in the process of programming the festival.

As it was in 2017, Pop-Kultur has once again been declared a boycott target of the international BDS-Network (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and PACBI (Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) in 2018. The goal of this campaign is the economic, cultural, and political isolation of Israel. We have received e-mails requesting that the official cooperation with the Cultural Department of the Israeli Embassy be discontinued and that the embassy’s logo, which is included on our website as a measure of transparency and represents the travel and accommodation contribution of €1,200, be taken offline. Various artists have also received messages in which they were asked to boycott the festival. The British band Shopping, the British musician Richard Dawson & Band, and the British Band Gwenno have cancelled their performances.

We will collaborate with the Cultural Department of the Israeli embassy this year because our 2018 lineup includes three Israeli artists. We will receive a total travel and accommodation contribution of €1,200 from the embassy. Currently the Israeli embassy is one of five festival partners contributing artist and travel support. The Bureau Export is contributing €3,400 for six French artists, and the British Council is contributing £18,000 (British Pounds) to the Project “Mix the City” to be presented at Pop-Kultur.  Moreover Austrian Music Export and Music Norway support local artists with direct travel support. This type of collaboration is common at festivals, events, and exhibitions of all genres.

Pop-Kultur maintains a clear and steadfast position: We are not intimidated by boycotts. If there are artists who don’t want to perform at our festival because we receive travel and accommodation support from the Israeli embassy in Berlin, we very much regret that. However, the boycott, the refusal to perform, is not our decision. We are always open to having constructive dialogues. It’s important to us to support the freedom of artistic and verbal expression and to seek out meaningful exchange in this context. We believe that discourse and dialogue are the only means through which to deal with conflicts in this world. We as cultural workers have a special responsibility for establishing networks across borders, even when we disagree.


UPDATE 05.06.18: John Maus and band have cancelled their show at Pop-Kultur. They »prefer not to play within a politicised setting« (John Maus).

UPDATE 13.06.18: Nadine Shah has cancelled her show at Pop-Kultur. Her British agency writes: »None of us could have foreseen the events of 14th May on the Gaza/Israel border when this booking was agreed. Force majeure.«

UPDATE 09.07.18: Alun Woodward (Chemikal Underground) has cancelled his »Mix The City« talk: »In the present climate and in particular because of recent events I’m not wanting to be involved«.