Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks

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Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks
The dazzling colour of 2014's festival parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

This weekend Berlin will be lit up by the vibrancy and colour of the Carnival of Cultures, an annual four-day urban festival that celebrates the diversity of Germany's capital. Here are six things not to miss.


The first Carnival of Cultures took place in 1996. Based on the principles of openness and diversity, it was a reaction against nationalism and racism in Germany in the 90s.

It provides a platform for minorities to show off their culture in one of the most international cities in the world.

Last year the festival attracted a whopping 1.4 million culture-vultures with its music, dance, and colourful costumes. Different cultural identities will all be on show in a "space of expression open to all".

Over a thousand musicians and artists will be taking part from Friday through to Monday, but here are the picks of the weekend that definitely shouldn’t be missed:

1) Parade – the main highlight of the festival is the huge parade through Berlin on the Sunday that turns the Kreuzberg district into a vibrant collage of different cultures, as a procession of artists and musicians dazzle the crowds with a plethora of colour, music, and dance. From Hermanplatz, Neukölln to Yorkstraße, Kreuzberg, Sunday 12-9pm.

Fabulous frog stealing the show at the Sunday parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

2) Farafina – If African grooves are your thing then the Farafina stage is the place to be. Named after the famous band from Burkina Faso, this stage will be offering everything African, from afrobeat to highlife and everything in between.  Blücherplatz, Kreuzberg: Fri-Mon.

Two African drummers stealing the show. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

3)      Interactive Workshops – If you're the type who likes to get involved and give things a go, then head on down to Rasen in Aktion, where you will find an array of all things interactive. Whether you want to dance the night away, do something hands-on, or just bash a drum to your heart's content, then this is just the thing for you. Blücherplatz, Kreuzberg Fri-Mon afternoons and early evenings.

Kids getting involved at a hands-on workshop. Photo: Karenval der Kulturen

4)      Swing and Wine Avenue – One of the many "music corners" of the festival with more secluded areas, smaller stages and chillout spaces. This particular one offers the genius combination of electro swing and lots of wine.  Zossener Straße, Kreuzberg.

One of the more secluded, chillout areas offering something a little different. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

5)      Latinauta – This stage will takes care of all your latin music needs. Expect Rio carneval, salsa, samba, latin jazz, and Cuban rhythms, as well as an endless list of fusions and much more. Corner of Zossener Straße, Kreuzberg, Fri-Mon.

A jazzy guitarist pulling focus with his noisy shirt. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

6)      Food stalls – Berlin is a somewhat of a melting pot when it comes to food from the four corners of the globe, but the selection of food stalls should take things to the next level. A special jury selects the best ones each year, so they will be fiercely competing to excite your taste buds. Everywhere, all day Fri-Mon.

Culinary delights on offer. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

The festival starts on Friday and runs all the way until Monday.

By Matty Edwards



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