LOLA’s Guide to Superbooth 2019

The synthesizer festival of your dreams

Words By Tom Evans
Photos By Angela Kroell

Berlin’s very own synthesizer festival is not just an industry gathering. With its 4th edition just around the corner and with over 30 performances and presentations each day, here’s our guide to getting hands-on with the weird and wonderful music machines at Superbooth 2019.

Superbooth returns for 2019, bringing together all corners of the music tech industry, from synth giants like Moog and Roland, to boutique modular makers, digital developers and beyond. In only its fourth year as a standalone event (it was formerly part of Frankfurter Musikmesse) Superbooth has become one of the most important dates on the industry’s calendar. For synth nerds there’s a drool-worthy amount of hardware and software to explore and the chance to see the very latest wares from your favourite manufacturers. But Superbooth is not just a synth meet-up, its packed with workshops, concerts, presentations and even events for children, so whatever your electronica expertise, there’s a little something for everyone.

Doors to the main exhibition space open daily (9th – 11 May) from 1pm. There are well over 200 exhibitors to discover across two floors with almost every kind of music making machine represented. Fancy having a play on the latest Moog? There’s a whole room of them. Want to try patching some esoteric modular components? Fill your boots. Looking for some new speakers? Stop by any of the dozen or so monitor makers who’ll be there. Or if you’re more into software, why not check in with the folks from Native Instruments, Ableton or Universal Audio? Wherever your interest lie, there’s an abundance of gear to get hands-on with, and all this in an inclusive atmosphere of ‘passion and community’.

As Timm Stobbe, head of press and media for Superbooth, told me: ‘there is so much to learn, see and hear that it won’t be fair to call Superbooth19 a tech nerd meeting… We have a strong motivation in educating the next generation – not only musicians and sound artists, but also manufacturers.’

It’s fitting, then, that Superbooth is held at FEZ, Europe’s s biggest, non-profit children, youth and family centre. Learning and education form a large part of the program. Workshops, presentations and talks run daily from 10am to 9pm on topics from sound design and soundtracks to the creative process and performing live. There’s also a constant flow of product presentations from the manufacturers themselves, running in two separate auditoriums from 2pm to 7pm each day.

For those wanting to get even more hands-on, there are up to 4 DIY workshops per day (separate tickets required) where a few modular companies are offering the chance to build a module from scratch, so you can walk away with your very own handmade piece of kit.

*Saturday 11th May is ‘Education Saturday’. The Superbooth organisers invite pupils, students and teachers to take part in a special workshop program at discounted rates. Registration and more information at: [email protected]

Concerts and Performances
No music meet-up would be complete, of course, without a raft of great performances and Superbooth19 certainly won’t disappoint. Concerts and live performances run throughout the day and evening in either of two indoors spaces or on the outdoor Seaside Stage, perfect for soaking up some sun, sounds and the delights of the ‘culinary mile’. Highlights include performances from Daniel Miller, Phonoschrank, T.Raumschmiere, Robert Lippok and Barbara Morgenstern. But there is much, much more including a number of unannounced special guests – to know who, you’ll just have to be there.

Getting there
FEZ is set in Wuhlheide park in the district of Oberschoeneweide in the East. You can get there by S-bahn or tram or, better yet, take the boat shuttle which is included free with your ticket.

Tickets are on pre-sale until the 8th May at €30 for a day or €89 for all three. Discounts for seniors, students, the disabled and recipients of Hartz IV are at €22 and €66 respectively.