Berghain: the techno fortress [Magazine Exclusive]

Berghain is many things. It is one of the most closely guarded secrets ever. It is one of the most mysterious, elusive and selective clubs in the world. It’s Berlin’s most legendary venue. It’s the authentic techno fortress.

If they say it’s almost impossible to escape from Alcatraz prison, the difficulty of getting into Berghain is equally legendary. The rules are simple and purity of intent is the key. But what makes it so desirable? Let’s take a closer look at its identity.

 

The origin

To tell the story of this temple of techno and decadence, we have to go back to the late 90s. Michael Teufele and Norbert Thormann, two club promoters who were hardly anonymous on the Berlin scene, ran a series of male-only fetish club nights known as Snax. The concept evolved into the legendary Ostgut nightclub that Michael and Norbet created to be a free zone where visitors could have total freedom of expression without being judged and where hardcore techno music reigned. Although conceptually underground, Ostgut quickly became a cult venue for both straight and gay party-goers. Sultry, mysterious and a Berlin favourite, the club was a temple of music where the barriers of decadence were successively overcome. A little later in 2003, they were forced to abandon the venue to make way for the Mercedes-Benz Arena, but this only happened after an unforgettable thirty-hour-long farewell party. ‘Because this land is the place I love, and here I’ll stay, and here I’ll stay. Here I’ll stay’, is an excerpt from Frankie Goes to Hollywood‘s ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey‘, the last song ever played at Ostgut. The solution to continue Ostgut was not too far away, fortunately, in an old power plant. A raw concrete structure utterly astounding, it was the perfect place to carry Ostgut’s legacy further.

 

The venue

Berghain wasn’t born in a day but slowly built itself up until it fully opened as it is known today. Names like Panorama Bar and Lab.Oratory were inherited from the old Ostgut and are part of the magnanimous blueprint of what is one of the most famous clubs in the world. Berghain has four venues within a venue, for endless fun.