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The European Union Youth Orchestra at the Young Euro Classic | © Euyo editor/WikiCommons
The European Union Youth Orchestra at the Young Euro Classic | © Euyo editor/WikiCommons
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The Top Cultural Festivals In Berlin This Summer 2016

Picture of Lily Cichanowicz
Updated: 9 February 2017
In Berlin, the fact that summer is fully upon us is reason enough to celebrate. There’s no better way to make some lasting memories during the city’s favorite season than attending some of its renowned festivals. From Berlin’s Lesbian and Gay City Festival to the International Beer Festival and the Young Euro Classic, there is something for everyone on the city’s cultural festival program.

Lesbian and Gay City Festival (July 16-17)

Berlin has a long history as a haven for Europe’s LGBTQ community, and each summer, the city hosts the largest lesbian and gay city festival on the continent in Schöneberg, the unofficial gay district. About 400,000 people will congregate around Nollendorfplatz for the 24th annual Lesbian and Gay City Festival, which consists of live music performances, art exhibitions, and an outdoor market. Members of the LGBTQ community curate all the programming, and this is an excellent way to gain some new perspective about LGBTQ culture and its presence in the realms of film, politics, sports, and more.

German-French Fair (June 24-July 24)

There is something magical about the aesthetic of a traditional French village, many of which still exist around the country today. Yet, most of us busy Berlin-dwellers don’t have time to make a trip out of our beloved city to visit them. Each summer at the German-French Fair, a replica village is erected in Reinickendorf with an iconic Ferris wheel at the center. Visitors can stroll through the streets of the quaint village, listen to traditional folk music, and perhaps more importantly, snack on some scrumptious French cuisine. In the evening, the buildings are set aglow to create a classic carnival feel. Each Saturday, there is a dazzling fireworks show to boot.

Summer Festival at Schloss Britz (July 17)

Berlin is a highly modern city, and sometimes we all crave the quaint and traditional that is so fundamental to many other European towns and cities. For those looking to step back in time for a day, head over to the picturesque Schloss Britz in Neukölln. Here, visitors can wander through impeccably kept gardens, sample dishes made by culinary trainees from the chic Estrel Hotel, shop at an outdoor flea market, as well as enjoy live music, performances, carriage rides, and more. This festival caters to both children and adults, making it a wonderful event for people of all ages.

Alt-Britz 73, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 60979230

Today we found Schloss Britz in #Berlin

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International Beer Festival (August 5-7)

When most people visit Germany, there’s one main thing on their minds: beer. While Oktoberfest is mostly associated with Munich, Berlin does have its fair share of beer-related festivities. The International Beer Festival takes place in Friedrichshain across a mile long strip filled with beer vendors. To help elucidate the sheer quantity of beer that will be present, let us present you with some facts. There will be beers from 87 different countries sold by 340 breweries in about 2400 varieties. Of course, there will also be people dressed in classic folk costumes, and live performers are set to play traditional German tunes. All things considered, it doesn’t get more German than this.

Bayern Tag (August 6)

Bayern Day has occurred on the first Saturday of August in Spandau’s Marktplatz for the past 34 years. The festival is dedicated to cultivating the best elements of Bavaria through market stands, food, and drink, with particular emphasis on Bavarian beers and other local dishes. Expect to see plenty of merry German ladies dressed in customary white and blue dirndls and men in lederhosen.

Wine Festival at Späth’s Wine Garden (July 30-31)

While most might associate Germany with beer first and foremost, the country can certainly hold its own in the realm of wine production as well. To commemorate this, Späth’s Wine Garden in Berlin Treptow is inviting German winemakers to present their finest wines to the garden’s patrons. Then, at the end of July, ten wineries will be offering their greatest specialties all at once at this Wine Festival. Wines will be meticulously paired with dishes prepared at the garden’s Hofcafé Späth as well.

Holi Festival of Colors (July 30)

Originating in India, the Holi Festival of Colors has gained widespread popularity around the world in recent years. The festival commemorates the start of spring in India, and for Berliners, it’s an excellent way to celebrate the summer. Attendees get handfuls of colored powder and wait with eager anticipation for the countdown that dictates when everyone throws their colors up into the air. This ritual is repeated several times throughout the day, and in between, there is live music and other activities to enhance the party. Festival-goers are advised to wear white to help the colors stand out.

Dance in August (August 12- September 4)

For those who are captivated by rhythm in movement, Dance in August is one of Europe’s biggest dance festivals. Spanning over three weeks, contemporary dancers flock to Berlin from around the world to perform. What makes this event so special is that innovative and experimental forms of dance are not only welcome but also encouraged. From August 12 to September 4, come to the Hebbel am Ufer Theatre and witness groundbreaking choreography that may be the future of dance as we know it. The festival program also includes parties, concerts, and workshops at venues located throughout the city.

Stresemannstraße 29, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 25900427

Young Euro Classic (August 17- September 3)

One of Berlin’s most unique events, the Young Euro Classic offers a chance for the world’s many promising young classical musicians to shine. For 17 days each summer, these youths perform in the famed Gendarmenmarkt, which is also the site of Berlin’s Classic Open Air. This year’s program includes prestigious youth orchestras like the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of the Mussorgsky Conservatory Ural, and the Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.

Meierottostraße 9, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 88471390