As a part of “We Are Europe” and as a counter-mechanism to the crises currently transpiring across Europe, the focus this year was strongly set on European politics. The opening ceremony started off with a welcoming of our guests and fellow We Are Europe partners from Belgrade, Cologne and Lyon. The show went on to invite inspiring discourse guests to say a few words. Wikileaks worker Sarah Harrison couldn't attend the festivities but we were able to have her join in via live stream and provide some insight into current events surrounding Wikileaks. Srećko Horvat then proceeded to make a compelling case regarding the future of Europe.
Friday saw the panel discussion for the central We Are Europe topic of 2016: “Culutural Entrepreneurship”. The speakers Adrienne Goehler, Fabrice Starzinskas, Thomas Burkhalter, Shilla Strelka, Ana de Almeida and Bianca Ludewig all shared their vantage point on several aspects and experiences within the volatile cultural enviroment.
Then, the film “Tunisia Clash” by Hind Meddeb was screened, a movie that deals with five Tunisian rappers who have been incarcerated and sentenced because of their government-critical lyrics.
The discussions “Democratize Europe” and “Outstanding Activism” on Saturday attracted a great number of people. Taking a stand for European solidarity and forward-thinking ideas were Srećko Horvat and the professor of European social politics at the Academy of Economic Law in Berlin, Birgit Mahnkopf. They were followed by three extraordinary activists Naomi Colvin, Katharina Nocun and Ksenia Ermoshina who told exciting and inspiring stories about their experiences.
Elevate can once again look back at four evenings with a great turnout – close to 5000 guests visited the musical portion this year. Spoken word artists Saul Williams made in impact on the audience with his impressive lyrical content and extraordinary presentation after Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith also delivered an outstanding performance.
Friday kicked off with Kompost 3, which was taped by the French-German station Arte. The close to sold out evening continued with Cid Rim who was debuting his new live show. He was followed by Mount Kimbie, Lone and Luke Vibert who all played excellent respective sets. The Tunnel floor was decently filled not lastly because Lena Willikens, Rebolledo and Barnt were making the dance floor quake.
Saturday's highlight was most definitely the two-hour+ set by Berghain resident DVS1, who managed to keep the room packed throughout. FunkinEven then followed with an equally fantastic DJ-set. And while DJ Earl accompanied by the footwork all-stars and DJ PayPal kept it going in the tunnel, JK Flesh and Elisabeth Schimana tapped into more experimental and dark tones in the upstairs Dungeon.
The grand Sunday finale was taken care of by Swans, who played a breathtaking show at Orpheum. This was probably their last show in this incarnation, as they are currently on a farewell tour. The three-hour show dazzled festival goers in combination with the performance of Anna von Hauwswolff.
This year's accompanying programme was widely accepted by our audience. The RBMA-Workshop with Elisabeth Schimana and Gregor Ladenhauf in the Kunsthaus Needle was filled to the brim. The first annual Elevate Music Brunch on Saturday was a chance to recharge at the Ginko Greenhouse.
The next Elevate Festival will take place from March 1 to 5 2017.
hoergeREDE will also return next year. Under the umbrella of “We Are Europe”, Elevate will be visiting Cologne's c/o pop Festival and the Insomnia Festival in Tromsø, while Sonar and Insomnia festival will be guesting in Graz.
The organizers Bernhard Steirer, Daniel Erlacher and Roland Oreski would like to thank each and every festival visitor, a terrific team of workers and media partners, patrons and sponsors.