Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images – Fusion Festival promoter Martin Eulenhaupt
Speaking at a press conference in Germany, May 8
In November, after 20 years of good understanding between authorities and the organizers of Fusion Festival, the local chief of police told promoters that he wants to set up headquarters on the main festival site and patrol the grounds without cause.
In the past years, Fusion Festival, which takes place on Müritz Airpark in Germany, and local police had an agreement that allowed the authorities to set up traffic checks outside the festival grounds, in order to test visitors arriving at and leaving the site for drugs.
Since 2016, there’s a mobile police unit stationed just outside the fenced-off main site, but, according to Martin Eulenhaupt, member of the board of Kulturkosmos, the promoter of Fusion Festival, they never had to make a move.
But in 2019, when the festival takes place June 26-30, the chief of police in charge, Nils Hoffmann-Ritterbusch, wants permanent police on site that is allowed to patrol the grounds without cause. The Fusion team got a letter on May 2, signed by the chief of police Hoffmann-Ritterbusch, denying his permission to green-light the event. According to German media, Ritterbusch has never visited the festival himself.
Eulenhaupt compared the authorities to ATM machines, which also had to be inside people’s reach if they required them, but could be placed just outside the main festival grounds. “Nobody wants to see an ATM machine at the festival, but there are people, who need [one]. They’ll walk 10 minutes to the ATM machine. It’s similar with police: if you need it, it needs to be within reach, but nobody wants to see it there all the time.
“The majority of people visiting this festival don’t want to party alongside police. We want this to be a protected space, you need to have free and cultural spaces that aren’t controlled by police, and where police only intervenes if there is a cause,” he said.
An online petition launched by Kulturkosmos had gained close to 110,000 signatures against placing police on peaceful cultural events without any probable cause. Eulenberg and his team, as well as the signees, want Fusion to go ahead as planned.
The mayor of Mirow, where Fusion Festival is staged, said that any task police had to fulfil at a festival didn’t require its HQ to be located on the main site.
“70,000 visitors are coming together to celebrate. No one feels threatened,” he said at the press conference, adding: “Saying that something could happen [would] mean that one couldn’t open a public building today.”
He said he was fed up of the authorities destroying cultures and structures, and as a result the economy, and then see press write negatively about Germany’s East.
He said one could learn more about social communication and future at festivals such as Fusion than anywhere else.
The German Fusion is not to be mistaken for Fusion Festival in Liverpool, England, which is a different event.