In Europe the season for open air concerts and festivals is coming to an end, but there is at least one more great little fest to put in your calendar for mid September.
Since 2001 Weltfest
(World Festival) has been held on Boxhagener Platz, a green square in former East Berlin. The fest grew out of the tradition of German Kiezfests, neighbourhood street festivals distantly related to British village fetes. Usually, they are about enjoying beer, sausages and other Teutonic culinary delights while a Dixieland jazz band or a local combo strut their stuff on a small stage.
The Weltfest on Boxhagener Platz (known locally as "Boxi") stands out as a forum for global social and political issues, including development, migration, the environment, sustainability and human rights. The organizers, Southern Network for Environment and Development
(SONED e.V.), describe the event as "a bi-annual street festival as a platform for inter-cultural dialogue, particularly in the context of world development politics". Weltfest 2013 is co-organized by the campaign Deine Stimme gegen Armut
(Your voice against poverty), the German umbrella group for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), similar to the British Make Poverty History.
Each Weltfest concentrates on a specific topic of international concern, and previous themes have included water, children's rights, refugees and nutrition. The motto this year is "Global goes Local – Zukunftsfähig werden - Utopien umsetzen" (get fit for the future, create utopias). Guest speakers will introduce interviews and discussions on alternative ways of countering the negative aspects of globalization and improving the lives of people worldwide. One question which will be explored is how can those living in the developed world learn from initiatives and lifestyles of those in developing regions.
Various actions and entertainments will be staged to illustrate the themes, including the children’s musical Global New Generation
. Several NGOs and other initiatives will be setting up their information stands around the square, and lively discussion is bound to be heard on the streets.
On the festival’s main stage, musicians and DJs from various countries, including Chile, Jamaica and Kenya, will no doubt get many of the expected 5000 visitors on their feet and dancing late into the evening. Refreshment stands will provide a wide variety of international cuisine, including the inevitable local beer and sausages, and no doubt the Berliners' favourite, Currywurst.