Report: Hyperreality 2018

A festival whose lineup consists mostly of people of color and/or queer folks (OR queers of color) in the traditional, conservative Austrian capital? Yes, please!

In the age of racially biased police brutality, rise of the alt right, and alarming amount of racist violence, Hyperreality was merely just a festival. It was a statement.

 

33897343_1772999902757646_1789198567089373184_oKelela

34031540_1773002016090768_4454764401810997248_oAsh B.

33992764_1773001622757474_8258033164476219392_o

 

Taking place in an old industrial premise at the outskirts of Vienna, Hyperreality, part of the weeks-long program Wiener Festwochen stretching throughout both May and June, blessed the locals with one of freshest, most interesting lineups of this year’s European festival scene. For three days, stars of the alt contemporary club scene, both already established and up-and-coming, were invited to show their crafts(wo)manship. The long weekend was kicked off on Thursday, with concerts by Fauna, Arca, and Aïsha Devi.

 

33986817_1773002232757413_2824286488584257536_oFAKA

33892836_1772999082757728_5881916892502818816_oFlohio

33984639_1772999362757700_5372149736696446976_oArca

 

We only joined on Friday night, but boy, was it a ride! Kelela’s ethereal show brought us to the church, quite literally – the fierce singer, wearing an all-white outfit, reminded of a divinely angelic creature, glistening in the bright-shining spotlights. FAKA’s set can be only described as “FIRE!!”. The South African duo, who are real experts on mixing African rhythms with danceable beats, turned the room into a raging dance floor full of twerking and bouncing bodies, and brought silly, exhausted-but-happy smiles to many faces. Definitely our highlight of the festival – and probably one of the best shows I’ve personally ever been to?

 

33862404_1773000726090897_7997612138925391872_oFAKA

34117321_1920855467986055_2206935152246915072_oLSDXOXO

34050221_1773001376090832_2798440092656467968_oAïsha Devi

 

While the main shows took place at the upstairs “Zusammenbau,” the underground “Materialmagazin” was all about full-blown partying! We came to dance our booties off on both Friday and Saturday, and we sure weren’t disappointed. Perhaps thanks to quite a small size of the downstairs venue, divided into two stages, it wasn’t difficult to get the visitors, and, in fact, the walls and windows too, shaking to the blasted rhythms. The first night saw a proper parade of queer black excellence in the form of Qween Beat Showcase with the likes of Cakes da Killa, MikeQ, Ash B., LSDXOXO and many more in one room, while the other hosted powerful women as Nina Kraviz, JASSS, or Machine Woman on the decks. Saturday’s roster was even more pumped, with performances by Flohio (so much power!), Sega Bodega, Shygirl, Ziúr, Tygapaw, Born in Flamez, DJ Lycox (yasss), STILL, and so many more, brought to a close by the babes DJ Haram and Kablam. We left sweaty, tired, slightly sore, but so satisfied.

 

34177439_1920854877986114_6914818392176197632_oAsh B.

33944308_1773002079424095_2688542681394577408_oFlohio

33875385_1773000772757559_1208633303519723520_oFAKA

Even though diversity and representation on stage was definitely not a problem, it wasn’t so in all of the aspects of the festival. If you just stopped for a bit and looked around, you’d realize that the staff (people at the bar, merch store, ticket office,…) is basically all white, and that the security fits in the unfortunate macho men category. This choice definitely distorted the otherwise welcoming atmosphere, and made the festival’s dedication to embracing empowerment fall flat. You see, all I’m saying is that if you decide to focus on giving platform to those often marginalized, and even showcase this idea in your merch with anti-racist slogans (all criticism aside, the red Keine Angst hoodie with the quote “It’s racism that leads to fear, not the other way around” on the back has become my favorite clothing item ever since), you need to incorporate this agenda in all parts of your event. Having worked in festival management myself, I know it is not a simple task, but it sure isn’t impossible.

 

33965465_1772999646091005_4781489156792516608_oKelela

33923804_1920855547986047_5688717306339786752_oLSDXOXO

33945633_1772999962757640_2495942749975478272_o

 

Hyperreality: Website
Wiener Festwochen: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Photos: Karolina Miernik and Emilia Milewska for Wiener Festwochen, Qween Beat
Text: Anna Wim

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