Kate Miller's Guide to Conscious Clubbing in Berlin
How to party for the greater good in the club capital.
In collaboration with Jägermeister.
While there are many clubs to be found in Berlin where one can 'lose themselves', there aren't that many where one can engage themselves. ://about blank is the alternative to disengaged clubbing.
Sometimes I find myself doubting the importance of what I do as a DJ. Surely Berlin doesn't need another DJ. Wouldn't I be of more help to society if I were a doctor or an environmental scientist? Probably. But I love music. I love making people dance. It can be easy to forget about the rest of the world when you're spending a lot of your time in dark, loud, hedonistic night clubs. And although I have had many meaningful interactions through my work, sometimes it can feel a little superficial. So when ://about blank contacted me and asked if I wanted to play at an event which was donating all proceeds to organisations who help refugees in Berlin, I immediately said yes and was excited by their political engagement. I took a deeper look into the team behind the club, their political history and background and was inspired.
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I was rolling my record bags down the street and hailed a taxi to travel to the Freedom of Movement party at ://about blank. The taxi driver asked me what I was doing that night and when I told her that I was playing at a party for refugees in Berlin she was so touched that she decided to donate. I handed this to the people working at the door and they were also moved by her charity. Once inside I saw how full the party was. People clearly cared about the cause and wanted to be there, not only to dance, but to support Berlin's refugees. What I found particularly special about this event was not only that the refugees were on the receiving end of the contributions, but that they were also actively involved. They were selling delicious food in the garden and one of the refugees, Ahu from Iran, was DJing. The vibe in there that night was so positive and full of hope, for once clubbing felt important. We were there for something greater than ourselves. Not just to escape after a long week at work, but to engage.
This is just one example of the many events ://about blank hosts for important causes. Another matter which ://about blank regularly addresses through collaboration with organisations such as female:pressure and Mint is gender inequality within the music industry. As a female DJ I have of course noticed the disproportionately low number of female colleagues in the scene. However through attending female:pressure's Perspectives Festival at ://about blank I have come in contact with many more and started to understand the underlying issues a little better.
Aside from ://about blank's political events they also have many legendary event series – including Homopatik, one of the most renowned gay parties in Berlin. They never release a lineup but the queue always reaches around the block because this party has become an institution. Reliably good bookings (including resident DJ Mr. Ties) and the freedom to express your sexuality safely and openly within the non-judgemental walls of the formerly illegal club next to Ostkreuz.
://about blank is of course not the only club in Berlin to organise parties for the greater good. Berghain, as well as a few other clubs around the world, recently held "Promote Diversity" parties in protest of Russia's anti-homosexual propaganda law. All proceeds were donated to the organisation "All Out" who support LGBTQ rights globally. Berghain stated on their event page: "Equality and tolerance are basic values that the club and music scene has always supported. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that the level of freedom we have achieved cannot be taken for granted, be it here or elsewhere."