Somehow, we had the urge for freedom
2011/2012 was the birth of the “Wurzel era” in our home city of Berlin. We were no longer in the mood for the usual club events. Without further ado, we rented a sound system and a generator, asked our friends who wanted to make music and started our first “Zurück zu den Wurzeln Free Open Air” – for our English-speaking guests – “Back to the roots Free Open Air”. The one-time event became the norm, and so we met regularly at varied and beautiful places in and around Berlin – allowing us to spend many amazing hours together. The “Wurzelfangemeinde” – our wider community – grew ever more and the 30 “Wurzel children” from the first Open Air soon became hundreds who then came to visit us.
The desire to party together for a longer time became stronger: we started our first multi-day “Wurzel Open Air” on an old industrial site. We are still quite proud of the fact that we were able to party for over 70 hours until the police discovered us.
After all, the positive experiences we enjoyed during our Open Airs simply meant that we just wanted to spend more time on the right side of the law with our Wurzel children, and so our “zu den Wurzeln” Festival was born. From the beginning, we tried to transfer the spirit of our Wurzel Open Airs to our festival. We involved our guests/Wurzel children in the planning from the very beginning, and have since become a real participatory festival in our own right.
As one of our Wurzel founders so aptly said: If you have a yellow umbrella and think it’s cool as a decoration, then bring it along and hang it up!
In the meantime, we have gone from open air friends to festival organizers – what a journey. Yet we are still the guys and gals from next door and try to keep the spirit of the Free Open Airs at the festivals.
From the principle of participation to the importance of sustainability
The name says it all: We are committed to preserving the original Berlin culture of celebration, which is still legendary to this day. Together with our guests we are a “Wurzel family” and our guests are involved in the planning and realization from the very beginning according to the “principle of participation”. Our guests’ suggestions for the decorations, the line-up, the supporting program and the culinary offer are all part of our collective efforts and firmly anchored in our Wurzel concept. Decisions are made jointly via our various social media channels. This sense of closeness with the guest creates a deep group affiliation between us and our visitors. All together, we form the “Wurzel family”.
Berlin culture of celebration
We interpret the Berlin culture of celebration in line with the motto: Quality over quantity. For us, this means delivering a varied and artistically bold music program, far from the mainstream. We want to offer a platform to young, unknown musicians. Hyper-professionalism, a strict door policy, consumerism and profit orientation are far-removed from us; instead, we focus on a process of exchange and common celebration. The festival is a total work of art and not a commercial event. The original Berlin culture of celebration, which is still legendary today, should live on.
Holistic supporting program
Guests should feel comfortable, get involved and experience something with us. That’s why we pursue a holistic event concept, in which music, a cultural program, performances, workshops, lovingly decorated locations and installations, as well as great food and drink, all form a complete work of art. In the meantime, our Wurzel-Festival also sees itself as a socio-political cultural event.
Since 2017, we have been offering a largely barrier-free site, easily accessible sanitary facilities, and an inclusion camp at our festival. The camp serves as a safe retreat for people who need support or simply a little more peace and quiet. But the term “inclusion” for us not only means including people with disabilities. It also means not trampling on others to get what we want. Everyone is equal #notrampling. We celebrate “togetherness”.
With us, everyone likes to be helpful, peaceful and above all, everyone is tolerant. That means it doesn’t matter what nationality, creed or social caste you belong to, and it doesn’t matter what sexual orientation you’ve found for yourself. We want to create a parallel world in our little Wurzel Republic, where we can all come together happily and contentedly. Escape from everyday life for a weekend and beam this spirit out into the wider world after the festival has finished. The mantra applies: Live and Let Live. Self-esteem and respectful interaction with others are indispensable parts of this.
Festivals are not sustainable in and of themselves. But we care a lot about Our Blue Planet, we don’t want to waste resources unnecessarily and we don’t want to leave a footprint in nature after such a colorful weekend. One measure we have considered to get closer to achieving a sustainable festival is the PsyClean team. This handles the complete waste organization for us, including waste separation. But much more important: They sensitize the festival guests. There are free ashtrays and garbage bags and every guest is encouraged to keep their camping spot and the area clean. We also do NOT have a garbage deposit area, because we take it for granted that everyone cleans up their own garbage. Also, our “World’s Best Decoration Team” is enjoying its own recycling mania; in doing so, it pays close attention when decorating to upcycle existing materials. There is also a land art project on the grounds every year.
In the line-up, we make sure to book mostly artists who don’t have to be flown in especially for the festival. In 2018, we even had a DJ who came from Switzerland by bike! And of course, we can’t do without the eco-water closets. We are working towards being able to switch to eco-water closets completely. With creativity, your initiative and expert advice, we are advancing step by step and ever-closer towards achieving a sustainable festival, and are trying to integrate it in all areas.