Another year is going to an end. We want to use this as an opportunity to retrospectively look at all festivals, that made Germany more colorful this year. Although the festivals focused on different things and took place in different cities and in different months, they all have something in common: they all accomplished an important cultural contribution. We reviewed the Festival-Year 2016 again and compiled a Top-5 of the best festivals:
Karneval der Kulturen in Berlin
From May 13th-16th Berlin was the venue of the „Karneval der Kulturen“, an event, that attracts around one million visitors every year and demonstrates how open-minded, international and colorful our capital is today. Several groups of different nations came together for the festival and celebrated each of their own cultural traditions with music, dances, performances, acrobatics and fine arts. The Festival was supplemented by an extensive framework program. During the four days, a street festival took place all around the Blücherplatz, where people were able to acquire handicrafts and taste culinary delicacies from all over the world. Furthermore there were theater plays, concerts and diverse offerings for children. But the undoubted highlight was the street-parade with about 4700 colorful costumed participants, that wriggled itself through the streets like a colorful ribbon. The „Karneval der Kulturen“ is a festival for all ages and welcomes anyone, who wants to learn about other cultures.
In early June the “Afroruhr Festival” took place in Dortmund and came up with a varying program. Popular contact point was the African Market, which invited people to stroll and browse. Fashion-fans however rather pilgrimed to the two fashionshows, that presented, how European patterns can be combined with African fabrics and swatches. The lectures and panel discussions were a little bit more silent. Here, people had the chance to listen to Enoh Meyomesses, political activist and poet from Cameroon, who red out some lines from his new book “Tagebuch eines Illegalen”. Kids were engaged in drum-workshops, sportive activities and a dance competition. A special highlight was the performance of Ghanaian Afro-Pop singer Wiyaala, who already is a famous star in her home country and now wants to conquer Europe. And visitors, for whom the program of the day and evening still wasn’t enough, had the chance to pull an all-nighter at the Afro-Ruhr-Partynights.
Afrika Festival Stuttgart
At the second weekend in July the “Afrika Festival Stuttgart” yet again attracted thousands of visitors, who had the opportunity of getting mesmerized by the African culture for three days. On this journey through the African culture, they were especially coddled with music, because the festival had a very multifarious line-up. “Jahkasa” from Burkina Faso, the Ghanaian dancer and acrobat Awuku Doe and singer Soko, among others, impressed the audience with their talent. Because of her World Championship-Hit “Helele” from 2010, the latter was already familiar to some visitors. As a contrast to the music program, people also had the chance to partake in an open discussions or expert talks, like the one that dealt with possibilities of a German-African cooperation for fair trade. Altogether the festival was a meeting point for people from all nations and a great opportunity to collect unforgettable experiences.
According to a saying, numbers don’t lie and this is definitively true about the “Alafia Festival” in Hamburg, because the over 50.000 visitors every year confirm: this festival offers a lot. In the Yoruba-language ‘Alafia’ means ‘peace’ and that exactly reflects the foundation of the festival – an exuberant, but peaceful mood, that invites people to listen to the over 30 musicians and discover the 50 stalls of the festivals own market. This year, the festival entertained its visitors with a musical journey through the whole African continent. Wiyaala from Ghana, the Westafrican Band Yakawumbu, as well as Abdou Day and his band from Madagascar performed on stage. During the three days, visitors also had the chance to buy African food and drinks, handicrafts, art, furniture, instruments, fashion a lot more – a great opportunity to dive into the unique atmosphere of Africa.
The 14th African Film Festival in Cologne
The 14th edition of the “African Film Festival” proceeded from September 15th to 25th in Cologne. In ten whole days, 83 films were shown, discussed and evaluated under the participation of 30 international guests in five different locations. Directors from all over Africa presented their movies and were available for questions and discussions after the screenings. This year, the festival was held under the motto “Sisters in African Cinema”, to demonstrate, that women play an important role in African cinema – both in front and behind the camera. Although the number of female filmmakers is increasing, the film industry still is a male domain. This problem was discussed by female filmmakers from Africa in a symposium. The festival, which is organized by the “FilmInitiativ e.V.”, is the biggest of its kind in Germany and has shown yet again, that it is a very important forum for the presentation of contemporary films of African cinema.