Secret Island Nation – Sweden’s Berlin Micro-Festival Returns
“70%, if not more of our visions, music and team come from Berlin and this emphasis remains a key part of the Secret Island Nation (SIN) concept: It’s about bringing ‘the’ Berlin lifestyle and vibe to a remote Swedish island.”
8 years after he first transported a bunch of Berlin nightlife denizens for a long weekend of outdoor Swedish debauchery, SIN founder Bjorn is back, hosting another 5 day party of 500 or so adventurers and revellers (from August 7-10: full details here)
Following a police raid at the last SIN in 2012 combined with a continental career change for the Berlin-based Deutsch-Swedish expat there was no event last year, prompting many to believe it was finished, an assumption Bjorn admits made more than a little sense.
“Secret Island Nation Festival would probably have been over if my career working for a company involved in medical marijuana in Vancouver island, British Columbia, had developed last year,” he confirms, “but it didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped.”
“But having come back to Europe, I started receiving floods of beautiful feedback such as ‘it’s no summer without ‘the island’, please come back soon’, so the team decided to continue, though with a slightly new approach.
Furthermore, we found nothing better to spend our time and energy on, SIN is just too amazing to drop it.”
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What are the key lessons you’ve learned from taking a break over the last 2 years; what are the key differences between this year and 2012?
SIN (Bjorn): “Having taken a break from doing SIN for eight years running, we’ve decided to alter SIN’s organizational structure in a way that allows us to gradually pass it on to a new generation of SINNERs. We want to enable a friendly takeover without giving up its core values.
The new approach involves a more decentralized organisation. For that, we raised the ticket price significantly to be able redistribute the additional funds to our ‘citizens’ for so-called Project Grants. Participants are carefully selected by what their connection and their contributions to SIN are, and the best suggestions will then be funded by us.
New for 2014 is the worldwide spread of the audience for such a small festival, limited to 450 citizens plus staff and artists. We were very international before already but this time we received several registrations from places like California and Australia but even some from Iceland and Svalbard. The more diverse, the better. Maybe eskimos or penguins are to expected the year after.”
Skrufff; What’s the situation with police/ locals/ permissions etc: what’s the plans for music and musical breaks (will there be 24/7 music, or quiet periods?) how many sound systems?
SIN (Bjorn): “The big police razzia on the first day of the festival in 2012 failed spectacularly without a single result. Therefore, we are confident that this year government has found better ways to spend Swedish taxpayers’ money. There also happens to be another festival in nearby Göteborg where our understanding is that most police resources of west Sweden are supposed to be tied up.
Thus, musical breaks for out two main sound systems, a chill out-floor, a live jam tent and an on-island studio to produce the ‘Sound of SIN’ should be decided by us this time. Officially and according to the permissions we turn off the music every night at 10pm. But, we are from Berlin and traditionally have issues with authorities, ermmm, just joking . . .”
Skrufff: How important are the social/ cultural elements this year?
SIN (Bjorn): “SIN aims to be more than a music festival, rather an international congregation of highly interesting weirdos with a hedonistic change-the-world-by-dancing attitude with an average age of 30 years. Every year, we increasingly add non-musical features, In 2014 this includes perms-culture toilettes, grey water usage system and a spa area in order to enrich our program and vision of founding our own nation Sweutschland’.
Guests are citizens who pay their taxes to get a passport instead of a ticket. Around these ideas the SIN community develops its own code of conduct and identity. Still, this festival remains a nation with the probably highest ‘dBpc’ (Decibel per capita).”
Skrufff: I understand you’re personally leaving Berlin soon, why?
SIN (Bjorn): “After 13 years of vibrant Berlin (night) life I just felt it is time for living in another environment, which is why I’ve decided- surprise, surprise, to move to a Swedish island. My plan is to start a family, learn sailing and fishing
and to, eventually, purchase land to be able to build up a permanent Secret Island Nation.
In the meantime, I aim to use my experience and network of SIN to start up an agency for team building events to create funds for the long-term project which I would not be able to obtain by solely arranging party events. As far as SIN is concerned, the new organization will improve logistics and the smooth running of events while the overall concept will remain Berlinesque – promise!”
Skrufff: Anything else to add?
SIN (Bjorn): “On Saturday 24 May we’re hosting a big Secret Island Nation warm-up party in Berlin initially open air on a beach central Berlin-Kreuzberg, followed by a night session from 10pm at the newly renovated Fiesere Miese next door. The lineup consists of SIN DJs only, such as Samuel L. Session, Franco Bianco, Demir & Seymen, Asem Shama and many more. It is every citizen of SIN’s obligation to attend this.”
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff