… March, April & May: Popfest Preview: Popfest Berlin


For the past 5 years, Popfest Berlin has been hosting a series of international bands in their German city. This year is no exception! Over the course of a weekend (September 26th and 27th, to be exact), bands from Spain, the UK, and Germany will play to an enthusiastic crowd in the Grünen Salon. Instead of drinking lots of German beer, as Sandra suggests doing, we will be stuck wishing we were there!

1. Can you give us a history of Popfest Berlin (dates, previous organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved?
We started in 2010. I had just moved to Berlin and met Uwe and Olaf from Firestation Records. I hadn’t been involved in the indie pop scene here before and I was wondering if there are enough people out (t)here to start something like a Popfest. So I set up a Facebook group called Popfest Berlin. Within hours it had over 100 members and everybody was asking: when and where?! I was overwhelmed … but I had actually no idea how to organize it! 😀 Anyway this was the point of no return! Luckily, Uwe had already organized lots of parties and concerts, and some days later the venue was fixed and we (Uwe, Olaf, Andi from the Pop Assistants and me) could start working on the first Popfest Berlin line-up.

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to apply to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
The only rule is: More pop less shit! When it comes to choosing bands, we all have a quite different taste, though it’s all indie pop. This makes our meet-ups sometimes really heated! 😉 We don’t have an application process and contact most of the bands on our own (which is quite hard sometimes!), but are always happy about requests by bands (and fans)!

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing Popfest Berlin?
There’s never enough free beer for the bands! And, unfortunately, also there’s never enough money to pay the bands fair 😦 This is really a serious problem, since most of our bands come from abroad and have high traveling costs. We are really grateful for their effort!

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one?
Usually, right after the Popfest we are so excited, that we can’t wait to meet up again and discuss about the next line-up! But then we take a small break and start about eight months before the next one. It surprises me, but we got quite organized over the years!

5. Do you have any inside tips for festival goers?
German beer! Loads of! And stay on the dance floor until 5 o’clock in the morning!

6. What are some of the best and worst Popfest Berlin moments you can remember?
My favorite moment was when Amelia Fletcher used my tambourine on stage! I bought it ages ago and never had a use for it, but I knew one day it would get its 45 minutes fame 😉

Well, the worst one. As I said before, there’s never enough money, and there was one time where we didn’t sell enough tickets. That was really disappointing, but didn’t keep us from going on! Because all the people, who have been to our festivals, are so thankful for setting up Popfest Berlin and bringing indie pop to Germany!

Thanks, Sandra!


For more information regarding the line-up, tickets, etc. be sure to visit the Popfest Berlin website.

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