A few week’s back, we (Bron) headed to the Ostsee (that’s the Baltic Sea for our non-DE friends) for Her Damit Festival – a 2 night house and techno affair taking place at a third reich-designed beach resort turned Soviet army base, Prora, on the island Rügen. With a killer line-up and unique setting, we predicted this might not only be a ravey weekend but also all sorts of wonderful visual treats, so we packed a few disposables to capture the bliss. The results? A ganz lecker collection of grainy snaps, worthy of a new instalment of the Disposable Camera Project.
The locations range from the main beach site to stages and the behemoth resort structure itself. There was sun, rain and wonderfully fitting clouds, the water was perfectly still and the sunrise like nothing we’d seen before. Alongside the pics, I’ve thrown together a few of my highlights from Her Damit 2015.
In short – Her Damit was an equal parts eerie and beautiful weekender of East German techno utopia. Get yourself here in 2016, this is a special one.
Feelings – incoming.
PRORA MAKES FOR AN INCREDIBLE FESTIVAL SETTING
First up, Prora is on Rügen – a ridiculously pretty island about as north as Germany gets, 3ish hours train journey or drive from Berlin. Designed as a third reich dream resort and built with 30,000 beds in mind, this colossal building never opened in it’s original purpose, and after use by the Soviet army, laid abandoned for years. While now partly renovated, a lot of it still lies unused and this gigantic structure paired with the prettiest sea-side setting makes for one adventurous playground. Abandoned vibes aside, we’ve got the sea (actual salt water sea), sand (actual sand!), clean air and forrest. And the organisers tap into it all with two outdoor floors sandwiched between the building and seaside forrest, the largest inside floor in a small shed/arena, and two concrete-heavy, low-ceilinged rooms actually within the building on the ground floor (both felt club floors).
Travel-wise, getting to Prora is normally totally easy by car, bus or train, with a direct train from Berlin taking in the prettiest North German countryside. Unfortunately in the days leading up to Her Damit there was a Bahn strike that wiped out that third travel option until Sunday, and kept a number of revellers from making it to the festival. Shout out to the festival for organising additional busses at the last minute, and to those whose journey required extra effort.
HER DAMIT IS DEUTSCH, SEHR DEUTSCH – AND I LOVE THAT
Well, I’m actually not sure whether it was because the attendees were mostly Deutsch, or if simply that this festival lures good people, but this was one nice crowd. No dickheads, no one getting in your face, friendly vibes, everyone speaking to you in German (!!), a shared loved of great music – there was something wonderfully easy and unpretentious about partying at this festival. It was also refreshing to dance with a crowd from all around Deutschland, beyond the Berghain brigade of Berlin. Bonus extra – from 17:00 Freitag, the music didn’t stop, which meant that people could do things at their own pace, which without the urgency of packing all your partying into controlled periods also probably added to the overall cool vibe. Festivals from outside of Germany – take note.
APOCALYPTIC STORM RAVING AT THE RUINE
On Saturday night we were treated to an Ilian Tape takeover at the outdoor Ruine stage. At some point early evening when Dario Zenker & Stenny were doing their thang, the heavens opened and for 30minutes, fuck did it rain. While we ran for cover on the outskirts of the dancefloor, the show went on. They kept pumping out one of the best sets of the festival, the visuals that projected onto the behemoth building mixed perfectly with the rain and half-light, and a dedicated posse of shirtless, barefoot, ravers fist-pumped and stomped around in utter bliss in the downpour. As the rain eased up an astronaut casually strolled into the booth and the Ilian Tape crew couldn’t handle. 10/10.
THE RUINE – IN GENERAL
I’m giving this one a second mention here – this stage is the one. We’re talking a small dj booth, placed in front of 5 stories of imposing, sinister structure, a sandy dancefloor surrounded by various chillout areas made from an old car, a small wooden ‘church’ (complete with confessional), a small tree-house cubby and the forrest leading to the sea. PLUS, a structure-encompassing display of some pretty bloody incredible visuals. It’s the full experience and was such a perfect host to techno.
For classy house and techno Her Damit really nailed it. Even hours behind our own schedule due to an array of transportation dramas, we missed the midnight set from Levon Vincent on Friday night, yet caught RØDHÅD followed by Oliver Deutschmann who were at home in the concrete Bunker (below). On the Saturday, things really kicked off early evening with the mentioned Ilian Tape takeover on the Ruine. This was followed by 2 hours of hand-raising feelings from Job Jobse, more Berlin techno vs. the Bunker from Alex.Do, Marcel Fengler and Henning Baer, another set of the festival from Mike Huckaby and a proper party set from ItaloJohnson (including mixing a little Flawless in around 5am for a little extra boost). At not one point was what we heard on Saturday night into Sunday morning flat – and it was only a shame that more people weren’t able to experience what was a totally on-point line-up.
SUNRISE OVER SEA
Croatian coastline festivals may have their vibey as fuck sunsets, but damn have I rarely seen a sunrise like what we experienced on the Ostsee. If you, like me, lose your shit over various shades of awakening-sun, a trip to Prora is for you.
Side note: their sunsets weren’t bad either – as experienced on the bus ride back below.
DJH JUGENDHERBERGE (THE HOSTEL)
Don’t underestimate the greatness of a real bed. Putting them ahead of other camping festivals – for not that much €, Her Damit also offered beds in the hostel (which was in the renovated part of that behemoth structure ). And while our camping friends were just as happy in their tents, with an ever-decreasing love of tents (it’s admittedly the setting up part that kills me), I enjoyed every minute of being in a real bed. The hostel also felt like a bit of twisted summer camp. Which was both wonderful and weird. Also – shout out to the hostel staff for being so patient as we checked our room keys in and out a good 50+ times per day.
THE DESIGN TEAM
A special mention should also go out to the team behind the various art installations and overall design of festival – a grey chunk of third reich architecture has never looked so good, and from the light show surrounding the Ruine to pop-up mural, food and chillout area (with a sea of hammocks) and the little curtained-off wooden seats for 2-3, Her Damit had a tonne of personality and warmth.
See you there in 2016.
To give you a bit of a back-story – in the Spring of 2012, Lucy set off on a trip with someone she didn’t really know – for a 2′ish month long road trip. Traveling the girth of America they had 35 disposable cameras on hand. When they finished up? They had 11 left over. Lucy has given these cameras out to people she likes/ loves/ adores – for them to use/ send back and for her to develop/ put on the blog.