WHOLE – United Queer Festival’s returns to the dystopian city of iron built on a peninsula in Gräfenhainichen for its fifth edition, taking place from Friday July 28 to Monday July 31. For its musical program, WHOLE invites 31 collectives, uniting Berlin’s queer electronic music scene with 15 collectives from the global queer electronic music scene. 

The festival is a celebration of those collectives internationally, that create safe spaces for the community and use dance as a tool for socio-political movement each in their own country and therewith: create queer acceptance. WHOLE unites all of those scenes to celebrate the queer community’s milestones and its fight, to exchange knowledge, discuss relevant topics within the community, to grow, connect, to learn from each other and to dive deeper into queer identity through a diverse range of workshops, panels, art, performance and musical exchange. 

Amongst the international collectives this year are crews ranging from countries like Uganda, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, USA, UK, Turkey, Japan, Ukraine, the Netherlands to China. Notable additions to the lineup include Amsterdam’s fast-paced queer house rave collective “de Reünie”, Brazil’s queer collective that holds steady ground in the country’s PoC community “Batekoo”, London’s all-female collective “Pussy Palace”, and Tokyo’s queer & femme party reshaping nightlife “Waifu”. New German collectives on the line-up include the renowned and uncompromising collective of Berlin’s “Herrensauna”, Berlin’s BlPoC community celebrating bass music “Emergent Bass”, and Berlin’s queer latinX party “Puti club”. 

The collectives will be spread out over a total of six stages, which will be in a different formation than previous year. An extra stage will be added on the peninsula this year, which will be “The Arena”. This stage is surrounded by cranes and will focus on techno music. “The Crane Stage”, which previously hosted the techno stage, will now host bass music. Queer parties in musical diversity are expanding and WHOLE would like to become more inclusive in its musical offer. Expect a selection of Brazilian funk, 2-step, neo-perreo and breakbeat. The forest stage will now move to another spot and become the “Antenna Floor”, focussing on 4×4, house and eclectic music. Somewhere in the forest, the Ambient Stage will be back, creating an enchanting place to cool down, heal, introspect and rest. The beach floor will remain in the same spot and offer a wide range of house music. Some of the new notable names on the line-up this year include Cormac, Dr. Rubinstein, Sedef Adasi, DJ FuckOff, DJ Gigola, BADSISTA, Nene H, Valentina Luz, Tijana T., JASSS, JakoJako, DJ Fart in The Club, Bored Lord, Lolsnake, Narciss, Omoloko and Kiernan Laveaux. 

The performance program for this year is centred around the theme of “Dreamscapes”. Here the world of dreams is explored and the many ways they impact one’s lives. They also represent one’s deepest desires, hopes, and aspirations. On this stage, the power of dreams is celebrated as a force for positive change in our lives. This stage offers a unique blend of performances that will take the visitor on a journey through the diverse oniric landscapes, where one looks into the mystical and enigmatic through art, music, and performance. 

WHOLE will organize a diverse range of workshops spread out over the weekend, where we dive deeper into the meaning of being queer. There will be interactive workshops, and talks. Some of the talks will include those about the limits of identity politics, what left politics of intersectionality could look like with independent media outlet Novara Media, about why trans liberation means liberation for all with Shon Faye, and best-selling author Emma Dabiri will talk about racial justice and coalition building. 

This year, WHOLE’s solidarity program expands to provide a free festival experience for community members affected by systematic and economic disparities. The initiative prioritizes individuals with little to no disposable income, including refugees, POC, black people, trans and gender expansive individuals, people with disabilities, and those facing fatphobia. The program offers free festival tickets, transportation, food vouchers, drink tokens, and camping gear to a total of 100 people, with travel stipends available for those outside of Berlin and the EU.

The WHOLE app will be updated and feature a map of the festival, a timetable, a list of artists, crews and their background information as well as an overview of the performances, talks, workshops and activities. The app will also include a page with live updates, FAQ, information about health & safety, a forum allowing visitors to ask any questions to the team and towards each other, as well as an SOS-button that visitors can use to call the aid tent in case of emergency.

Join WHOLE Festival to experience its transformative power as you immerse yourself in a captivating journey of music, workshops, panels, art, performances, and a celebration of queerness! Tickets are available for purchase here.

Published and Edited by Asia Lanzi