Fusion’s (Фузион) website describes the festival as a “parallel society” based on “installation, interaction and communication” through “music, theater, performance and cinema.” A bold promise, yet Fusion delivers. These “four days of holiday communism” at an abandoned military airbase in the middle of nowhere draw free thinkers, eclectic music lovers, artists and fans of the experimental.
Time for Take-Off
Fusion started in 1997 and takes place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, just 3 hours outside of Berlin in the airstrips and belly of an abandoned Soviet military airport. Festival-goers camp throughout (there’s no restrictions on where you can camp—or much of anything, for that matter), and the food on offer is exclusively vegetarian. Stone-gray hangars, wide-open runways and a glade forest house all-night dance parties. Much like Burning Man, Fusion is a polarizer and not for everyone, but the true fans love it and live it, and no amount of rain or anything else can take away from the collective creative life lived for these few days each year.
This anarchist utopia, despite the austere Soviet-era setting, is far from drab. Where Fusion shines is in the creativity of its attendees, who participate in making it an altered reality, as if the Russian military themselves took acid and held a decorating party. Art installations abound, with play structures indistinguishable from the festival “floor.” Literally everywhere you walk has an intentional and artistic configuration, transforming the once utilitarian grounds into a dynamic playground. As the lineup is a guarded secret until right before the event, the festival is about more than just who’s performing. Acts are usually countercultural, independent artists, so there are no entourages or luxury tour buses here. This is clearly an event that reflects an ideology, a way of looking at the world and experiencing it without the limits and obligations of our daily lives.
Hit the Lottery
While some festivals pay lip service to these kinds of radical ideas, Fusion does right by them. This non-commercial event keeps ticket cost low, and what you spend is used well. Most of your festival ticket euros (about 70 of them) will go toward causes such as youth art initiatives and left-wing political projects. You will also pay a 10-euro site cleanup fee. The nonprofit Kulturkosmos devotes a large chunk of time and energy throughout the year to ensure that Fusion runs smoothly.
Hippies, crust punks, nihilists, psytrancers, Berliners, European festival fanatics and everyone in between dances it out together at Fusion.
Currently, 58,000 tickets are released by an equal-opportunity ballot system for each year’s event, selling out in hours. People who end up at Fusion really want to be there, which creates an electric participatory vibe. Hippies, crust punks, nihilists, psytrancers, Berliners, European festival fanatics and everyone in between dances it out together at Fusion.
The festival is all about celebrating differences, and the policy is to be respectful of others’ space. Additionally, no racism, chauvinism, violence, cruelty to animals or advertising (among other things) is tolerated, as these all impinge on your comrades’ ability to have a good time.
A unique feature of Fusion, and one that demonstrates the intentional alternative energies of the event, is the Party Break. On Friday from 11am to 2pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm, the main stage shuts down so festival-goers can collect garbage from the dance floors, chill out and maybe take in music from the smaller stages. This is all in the name of spreading the love and maintaining that all-important thread of responsibility woven amidst the chaos. The experience at Fusion is very much like a German Burning Man, an attempt to experiment with integrating new attitudes meaningfully into one’s daily life; for that reason alone, it’s a must-see. Unplug from the grind, learn about yourself and create something, if only for a collective good time.