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Dreamscapes: WHOLE festival unites Queer communities around the world

Photography by Sara Herrlander

Facilitating a global tapestry of Queer culture, from 28-31st July, WHOLE – United Queer Festival returns as a dystopian city built on a peninsula in Gräfenhainichen. The festival, which explores Queer politics and culture from a global perspective, invites 31 collectives from a plethora of countries across the globe, uniting them with the iconic Berlin Queer electronic music scene. This year’s performance program is centred around the theme of “Dreamscapes”, representing one’s deepest desires, hopes, and aspirations. There will be six stages across the festival that each offer a unique perspective. From bass music, techno, Brazilian funky, 2-step, neo-perreo, breakbeat, 4×4, house, ambient and trance, this year inclusivity in music is also a strong focus for the festival, sharing each other’s cultures, sounds and experiences.

As we get ready to immerse ourselves into a multi-dimensional landscape celebrating Queer joy and liberation, Glamcult speaks to Chris Philips, the curator of one of the six stages, themed the Dreamscapes stage, to find out more about where the inspiration behind the Dreamscapes theme comes from, and what they hope to achieve with this year’s event.

Photography by Victor Luque

Photography by Victor Luque

GC: Hey Chris! How are you feeling in the run-up to the festival?
CP: I’m doing well, thank you. The run-up to the festival is always an exciting and busy time. There’s a mix of anticipation and a bit of nerves as we finalise all the details and make sure everything is set for an amazing experience. We can’t wait to meet with everyone at Ferropolis once again!

GC: We are so excited to attend this year! Could you tell us a bit more about why you chose the Dreamscapes theme?
CP: The Dreamscapes theme was inspired by the captivating and mysterious nature of dreams. We wanted to create an experience where attendees could explore different aspects of of the theme and the impact of dreams on our lives. Delving into various facets, from the dark and unsettling to the whimsical and fantastical, we will develop the concept into three different nights, starting with dreams as personal aspirations where we will open our stage to anyone willing to perform in the format of a talent show. Following, a night of wet dreams with erotic performances and ending the program with exploring the concept of lucid dreams. It is important also to mention that I’m co-curating the program with Nancy, aka Camp Dad, the founder of the Tranarchy collective.

GC: Compared to the first event held in 2018, how have you seen WHOLE Festival change?
CP: A lot has changed since the first WHOLE Festival. From its humble beginnings in 2018, we’ve witnessed the festival grow in scale and impact. We’ve seen an increase in attendance, as well as a broader range of artists and performers participating. The programming has become more diverse and inclusive, reflecting the vibrant and dynamic nature of the Queer community. Additionally, we’ve also witnessed the festival’s influence extend beyond its duration, with various initiatives and collaborations emerging from the connections made at WHOLE. It’s been incredible to see how WHOLE Festival has become a platform for artists and a catalyst for positive change within the Queer community.

GC: Speaking more broadly, what is your biggest dream for the Queer community, and to what extent do you feel WHOLE can bring this further into reality?
CP: My biggest dream for the Queer community is that we learn how to stay truly united. As a diverse community, we have made significant changes towards equality and acceptance, but there is still work to be done. My hope is that we can continue to uplift and support one another, recognising that our individual experiences and identities are interconnected. Through this, we can amplify our collective voices and advocate for change on a broader scale. I believe that WHOLE Festival plays a vital role in bringing this dream closer to reality because it gathers so many different collectives from many different locations. So it’s an opportunity to meet and learn from each other.

GC: Turning back time, would you say WHOLE Festival manifested from a dream of yours?
CP: Without a doubt! WHOLE Festival was born from a collective dream. We all shared a dream of creating a space where queer expression could flourish, where people could come together to celebrate being themselves, and where art, music, and community could intertwine in beautiful and transformative ways. WHOLE Festival was the manifestation of that dream, and it continues to evolve and grow with each passing year.

Photography by Victor Luque

Photography by Spyros Rennt

Words by Charlotte Hingley

Images courtesy of WHOLE festival

Learn more about WHOLE festival here