Newsletter December 2021
It’s December 2021 and you could be forgiven for thinking that we only contact you precisely at the time when the shit’s hitting the fan again. Whenever things look their bleakest, we try to lift your spirits with the promise that the sun will shine again and an end will come to this misery. Next year for sure, we’ll be together again to hail the bass drum and indulge in all the other lovely craziness.
Sadly, and despite all our hopeful predictions, we had to cancel Team Red and Team Black earlier this year. The rapid decline in case numbers was to be predicted from May onwards, but unfortunately the vaccination progress which caught on only very slowly. This meant that, at the beginning of May, we had no guarantee that our plan would be approved and we backed into a corner. In addition to our very ambitious testing concept (which was thoroughly conceptualised but ultimately untried), without a foreseeable approval from the authorities, it became increasingly impossible to keep thousands of Fusion contributors convinced the mission would be successful.
That shouldn’t happen again next Spring. We are absolutely firm in our assumption that major events and festivals will take place again this coming summer and we’re planning Fusion Festival from 29.06 - 3.07.2022, just as we enjoyed pre-corona, with 65,000 guests.
Hygiene Concept 2022
Since we can’t simply dance away the pandemic, we’re all paying the price for the irresponsibility of those who have not been vaccinated out of stupidity, ignorance, fear, or squandered rebellion. And of course for the political failure which, just like this vaccine hesitancy, has contributed to creating the disastrous situation we’re now in.
No one can say today what will apply next summer and to what extent a testing concept will be needed. We will have to see. But we hope that we’ll be spared that part. Whether unvaccinated people will then be given access to larger events remains in question. We can’t test tens of thousands of people within a very short time as we had hoped, so get vaccinated or this shit will never end!
“Don’t give up!” was our message, in spite of the pandemic, and in the end we managed to put on 3 planetary festivals this summer, each with 10,000 guests, as well as a small be:tween theatre festival with a good 2,000 guests. All guests were all PCR-tested on arrival and, despite the initial difficulties with Plan:et C Alpha, we can say that the experimental testing concept worked. We are still happy to this day that such a lighthouse project was possible with the right people and a competent crew.
So, at this point, once again thanks to everyone who did an incredible job - whether that was swab testing in the lab, the diagnosis, the programming of the software with the highest standards of data protection, or looking after people who received a positive test result.
All in, we swabbed up the noses of a total of 37,000 guests and 16,000 crew members. That means we’ve ran over 50,000 PCR tests in our own mobile, high-performance PCR lab. There were only a handful of positive tests and therefore only a few people at each festival who were not allowed on the premises and were sent directly into quarantine. After Plan:et C Beta, a small few guests tested positive, but it couldn’t be clarified whether the infection occurred shortly before or during the festival.
Ultimately, we can say that with this concept we have succeeded in creating a corona-safe space in which the virus could be forgotten about and some sort of normality set in. A space without mask, distance, or fear. Everyone who experienced that, celebrated it… and then some.
I’m sure many of you are wondering how on earth we’ve survived this madness from a financial perspective and will wonder if our wells are completely dried up.
First off, we can say that, despite corona and two cancelled festivals, we haven’t maxed out our overdraft. Currently, we still have enough reserves to support Fusion financially in spite of expected higher costs.
We owe this to two things. First, until this point, 80% of all ticket holders have not cancelled their ticket; and second, we had reckoned with significantly higher costs for the planned double Fusion with 2 x 35,000 guests and had already set the €220 (including €10 rubbish deposit) ticket price. It was not an easy decision but it saved us. With the income from the sale of 65,000 tickets, we not only have to put on a big festival, but also have to bridge two years without Fusion. This means that we won’t be able to offer any part refund and the ticket price will remain at €220 (including garbage deposit).
We also have to say that we also applied for various state support and grants (Neustart Kultur, MV Schutzfond Kultur, Winter Stabilization Program MV) with some success. In numbers, we received around 15% of all expenses and fixed costs that Kulturkosmos accrued in 2020 and 2021. Maybe that doesn’t sound great, but with expenses of over €6 million over the two corona years, it was not a huge, but important support and maybe it’s not done yet.
Expenses in the millions (?!) you may well ask yourselves. Well, yeah, even without the two festivals, work continued throughout the corona period and that ate up a lot of funds. Despite part furlough (Kurzarbeit), the annual gross salary costs of our permanent employees is alone about 750k. The two-year construction of the Turmbühne was the most complex and expensive project that we have ever carried out on the site and that alone cost well over 500k. In addition to the Türmbühne, we made investments to our infrastructure, planning, and construction for various new projects set for 2022. A few 100k also went to the testing concept, the laboratory, and the months of testing the Crew. Without going into details where everything went, we found that the costs have remained stable and the expenses have mounted up no bother. Fortunately, the costs of the three Plan:et C events have - contrary to expectations - been covered, in spite of the low entry price of €100 including PCR test.
We’re not complaining, because the money was spent sensibly. And we’re not on the edge of the financial abyss. We are really confident that the Fusion rocket will blast off again at the end of June and that we’ll be launched into the parallel society we all long for so much.
Despite the pandemic, it’s now time to look ahead and plan Fusion 2022. We will keep you up-to-date in the coming months, but now we outline the somewhat dry topic of ticketing and what you need to know in order to be at the festival next year.
Ticketing info 2022
A ticket for the 2022 Fusion festival costs €220 (incl. €10 rubbish deposit).
Changing your 2021 Fusion ticket
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have not yet cancelled their tickets and thus have been absolutely instrumental to our continued work and the survival of Kulturkosmos during the pandemic. We would also like to thank all those who, despite having to cancel their tickets, have supported the Kuko network with a voluntary donation.
All those who have a Fusion 2021 ticket and want to attend next year must take action in January (1 to 31 January 2022) and change their tickets from Team Red & Team Black to Fusion 2022 tickets. The tickets will still be personalised, so it will not be possible to transfer the tickets to someone else.
Anyone who does not do this will have their ticket cancelled on 1 February and ticket holders will be asked to apply for a free refund and provide us with up-to-date bank details.
As the majority of tickets have already been allocated, the only tickets on sale for the upcoming festivals will be the cancelled tickets.
In February 2022, we will raffle off all the tickets that have been cancelled by then.
Anyone who does not have a ticket for Fusion 2022 can register with our ticket shop from 1 to 14 February and order a ticket. The tickets will all be personalised and each person can only order one ticket. Multiple orders will result in disqualification and cancellation.
Cliques can also be formed when ordering. The chances of winning remain the same, whether as an individual or a group.
The number of orders we can accept will have become clear by then, based on how many people changed or cancelled their 2021 tickets. We expect 15,000 - 20,000 cancelled tickets.
On 22 February 2022, a computer will draw lots from all the orders received to decide which ones we will accept and which ones we will not.
All Fusion 2022 tickets that have been transferred or newly allocated can be cancelled from 22.2. until 30.4. for a fee of €10. After that, the ticket exchange will open and it will be possible to sell Fusion tickets there.
Ticket exchange opens on 1 May and remains active until 26 June.
As far as possible, we want to prevent Fusion tickets from ending up on eBay or other selling platforms at inflated prices. With the ticket exchange, we are creating our own marketplace where you can sell your ticket or, if you are lucky, get your hands on a ticket.
More information about the ticket exchange will be available on our website from 22 February.
So much for the procedures surrounding Fusion 2022 tickets. We’ll round off with some information about other projects and what else has been keeping us busy during the pandemic.
Since we founded our association, our stated aim has been to strengthen and support youth work here in the region. We’ve done this in a variety of ways over the years, but often indirectly. We are a recognised voluntary youth welfare organisation and for years we have been talking about getting directly involved in youth work here on site. Now we want to actively take this up and are organising a youth project, which we would like to present to you here.
The Lärz youth farm
It all started when the municipality of Lärz's kindergarten was threatened in 2018 due to the building's structural defects. The municipality was suddenly faced with having to build a new kindergarten. However, it had neither a suitable plot of land nor the money to buy one. Rescuing the kindergarten seemed to be linked to preserving the municipality's independence and preventing a merger with Rechlin. Since we had campaigned hard for the continued independence of Lärz municipality and against the planned municipality merger in the run-up to the last local elections, we now see ourselves as committed to becoming more involved with the municipality in the future. The idea of setting up a project for children and young people has been close to our hearts for a long time, so if not now then when. However, we were still missing two plots of land for children and youth work in Lärz.
At the end of 2018, we therefore bought a 1.6 ha field on the outskirts of Lärz, and within a year, with the support of the municipality, we drew up a development plan for a new site called "Freier Himmel" (free skies). The name is in memory of the years of struggle by regional citizens' initiatives against the Bombodrom, a shooting and bombing range that the German armed forces had planned after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was set to be located only a few kilometres from Lärz, and was successfully prevented after 17 years of sustained opposition.
We have donated part of the site to the municipality of Lärz, which will now build the new kindergarten there. In the immediate vicinity, Kulturkosmos will build and operate the youth farm, creating a leisure facility for children and young people between the ages of 6 and 14. In addition, there will be eleven further building plots for owner-occupied homes on the site. These plots will be sold to families with children to encourage an influx of urgently sought-after new citizens, including the next generation for the kindergarten and the youth farm. In addition, the sale of the plots will cover the overall planning and development costs, as well as the financing for the youth farm.
The concept and plans for the kindergarten are available on the Kuko website.
KuKo fire brigade
Securing events on the Kuko site has presented a challenge for the local volunteer fire brigades, especially in years with several festivals, some of them during the harvest season. To support the work of our volunteer fire brigades in the future, we have therefore founded a Kuko fire brigade and bought our own vintage fire truck. Due to Corona, the project is still in its infancy, but the Kuko fire brigade should be ready for the coming festival.
After the decision was made early in 2021 to postpone the at.tension theatre festival due to Corona, preparations are already underway for at.tension#9, which will take place from 8 - 11 September 2022.
More information will be available soon at www.attension-festival.de
That’s that for this newsletter. We hope you have a good winter, that you stay mentally and physically healthy, and that we will meet again with renewed vigour next year at our place or at other places where the bass is pumping and the party is popping.
The Kuko Crew