Her Damit Festival has announced the lineup for its fourth edition, taking place from June 8 to 10 in Freudenberg, 50km outside of Berlin.
The main focus of the annual event has always been on the music making it an intimate yet intense three-day-party for techno and house connoisseurs. On the schedule this year are Bambounou, Konstantin Sibold, Shifted, Roman Flügel, and more, with a full lineup listed below.
In advance of the event, we also spoke with Melanie, one of the event founders to learn more about what to expect for this year's edition.
How old is the festival?
It’s our fourth year already but at the moment it feels much younger to us. Last year we had to find a new "home." The former "Kraft durch Freude"—building in Prora, a relic from Nazi Germany, was bought up by investors and redeveloped and unfortunately converted into luxury flats. Near Berlin, we found a former bunker complex from the GDR times that seemed perfect for us. So, we moved from the island of Rugia to Freudenberg—into "exile." The local community and the residence of Freudenberg greeted us with open arm. What started off as an "exile" location has now become our home. However, like with every move, change comes with it. So it was unavoidable for the Festival not to change but we have adapted to the new surroundings.
How did the festival come about?
One could say that Her Damit is a personal continuation of another failed project with friends. It took place in Prora, too. When we discovered the location a few years back, we shared a vision of a festival. We spent nearly two years with the planning, organization, and eventually the realisation of it. It took all our heart, soul, strength, and passion. Unfortunately, our cooperation did not function very well. When it was over, we were faced with the shards of our shared vision and also our friendship. This weighed very heavily on me—in many ways. I wanted to quit it all, never do a festival again, and leave everything behind me. However, luckily there were people close to me who pushed me and motivated me so much that I pulled myself together and gathered my remaining energy together once more—and continued this journey on my own. I shaped a new concept based on my very own vision and that is how Her Damit was born. Above all, I am very ambitious to break new musical ground in the German festival scene.
What does He mean? How did you come up with the name?
In the previous project we had played with that expression in our PR (in English it would mean something like "bring it on") over and over again. I always found it very powerful and applicable in many ways, and I liked it very much. To name my new festival this way also comes down to nostalgia. I am a very emotional person, and it took me a very long time to get over being sad about the failure of the former project; maybe some part of me didn’t want to let go of it at that moment. However, the expression also fits perfectly to what I would like to express; I connect the name "Her Damit" with pure energy.
What are your backgrounds?
My personal "rave" career began when I was 16 years old—that’s 20 years ago now. My boyfriend at that time listened to Chicago house and techno, that’s how I got introduced to the music. However, professionally I took a different path back then. At the age of 29, I was a little bored of what I was doing at the time, so I started organizing parties at off-locations—just for fun, from time to time with some friends. Eventually, this resulted in founding a record label, too. At some point, I decided to turn my passion into my profession and began working as a booking agent, but today I only organize festivals.
What is the concept behind the festival?
The main focus is on the music. And secondly the light and visual effects and the sound concept. Decoration only plays a minor supporting role for a good reason. As we always have very unusual locations, we don’t want to cover up what the location has to offer but we want to embrace it, and for this, the lighting plays a huge role. The bunker complex in Freudenberg reminds me very much of old rave times, hence, I’m always saying that last year’s "Her Damit im Exil" was a homage to '90s rave culture. The concept behind it was very stripped-down. About this year’s concept, I actually don’t want to give too much away yet— the surprise is important—but I can tell you this already, in some bits you might see a certain Studio 54 influences.
What is the vision behind the bookings at the festival? What is the type of artist you look for?
I personally was never much of a festival goer, because I found it hard to find a festival with a lineup I personally liked. This, of course, inspired me even more to do my own thing. Why not do my own festival, if my experiences so far had not been the greatest? Sadly so far I was never able to party at my own festival (yet).
In terms of bookings, it is a constant tightrope, because everything should be perfectly balanced out: house and techno, a mix of well-known DJs and new up comers. In general, I’m not only interested in booking big names, but rather go for variety. The lineups are based on an idea, some sort of a musical story I would like to tell our guests during their stay at Her Damit. Concerning the artists, is very important to me that they understand their craft and have the "rave heart" at the right spot. Artists who have their very own fingerprint and style always impress me a lot.
There is so much going on in Berlin, why is Her Damit worth a weekend outside?
You have to discover and explore Her Damit; it’s totally off the grid, just the travel to our new location is already an experience—very “trippy." And then the location even on its own is also worth a visit.
Sure you can go to good clubs in Berlin every weekend, but our festival is only once a year, and from year to year things will improve and develop, and we will do more than our very best to keep things muy exciting and fresh.
Do you work with local promoters?
Not really. We have a special relation to some local crews, which is also reflected in our lineups, but all the promo, the realization, and everything else is done by our lovely team. Just for the light concept, we‘ve teamed up with the Lumito-Crew. They‘ve done an amazing job last year.
What are your plans for the future?
Yeah! We are about to launch our own vinyl label: Her Damit Tonarchiv. The first three releases are already in progress. This project is not supposed to conquer the international electronic music industry, we rather want to return a little something to our guests, friends, and family.
Before, Her Damit was more like a hobby/side project for me. It‘s still not about earning big money, more an idealistic thing, but to be able to continue and move things forward it’s now necessary to professionalize the whole project in many ways.
And of course, we are still figuring things out at the new location and we are still refining things.
Personally speaking, if there is one moment that defines Her Damit for you what would it be?
During nd_baumecker’s set on Saturday evening in 2016. I went on stage for the last 30-40 minutes of his set. It has been a huge stage and there was a massive crowd in front of it; the energy and the view was epic. He played a remix of Lana Del Rey’s "Video Game." While Lana was singing “For you, for you, it’s all for you,” nd turned over to me with open arms, pointing at me, and singing along the lyrics. I immediately started to cry. The previous years have been so tough on me, but in that moment I knew: the whole effort was totally worth it! It’s the most memorable Her Damit moment for me and I will never ever forget it.
Bleak - live
I Hate Models
INNEN+AUSSEN (aka Jenus + nd_baumecker)
Konstantin Sibold & Leif Müller
Ron Blanco & TRP
Friday, June 8 from 10 am until Sunday, June 10. Guests can stay at the camping site until Monday. More information and tickets can be found here.