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Martin Guttridge-Hewitt
15 January 2024, 16:51

Artists withdraw from Berlin's CTM Festival in support of Strike Germany

Jyoty, Manuka Honey, Kampire and Scratcha DVA are among the DJs who have withdrawn from the line-up

Press shots of Jyoty, Manuka Honey and Kampire on a grey-blue background

Several artists and DJs have withdrawn from Berlin's forthcoming CTM Festival in support of the Strike Germany movement. 

The news of DJs Jyoty and Manuka Honey’s withdrawal from the electronic music-focused festival, which takes place from Friday 26th January to Sunday 4th February at locations around the city, was shared on Friday (12th) via the Ravers For Palestine Instagram page. Both artists were set to play at Berghain on the festival’s opening night. 

These DJs are among the 850+ artists and cultural workers who have committed to boycotting German state-funded cultural institutions amid the “intensifying crackdown” on those “expressing solidarity with Palestinians facing genocide in Gaza”. An open letter started by Strike Germany has also been signed by the likes of PAN label founder Bill Kouligas, Kelman Duran, Van Boom, Asmara and WTCHCRFT.

In a statement shared by CTM on Friday, the festival said that it “respects the artists' decisions” to no longer play the festival, and that the organisers “remain steadfast in our support of artistic freedom and dialogue.” 

On Monday (15th January), DJs Kampire, Scratcha DVA and Yas Meen Selectress shared statements confirming that they would also be withdrawing from the line-up.

The Strike Germany movement was launched last week, partly in response to the Berlin Senate's new anti-discrimination clause, the current form of which requires those applying for arts grants to commit to IHRA's definition of anti-Semitism. This move from the senate has been criticised by campaigners within Germany and abroad, for what Strike Germany has referred to as a “use of McCarthyist policies that suppress freedom of expression, specifically expressions of solidarity with Palestine.”

In another statement shared via its website, CTM, which operates as a not-for-profit, independent organisation but received a four-year funding commitment from the Berlin Senate for Culture last year, shared its concerns surrounding the clause, which read:

“CTM strongly shares the worries and concerns that the Berlin Council for the Arts, the Coalition of the Independent Scene, the bbk Berlin, inm berlin, LAFT Berlin, the Section Visual Arts of the Akademie der Künste, and the Berlin Film Festival Network have already expressed against the plans of the Berlin Senate for Culture to massively intervene in the freedom of the arts and especially future art funding with the administrative implementation of a so-called anti-discrimination clause. We therefore reject this clause in its current form, and emphatically endorse the appeal of the aforementioned groups and initiatives.”

Last week, after hosting a line-up of all Black artists in Berghain and Panorama Bar last year, New York’s dweller festival confirmed that they would not host an event in Berlin this year. "We made this decision a while ago due to the way German institutions were treating those opposing the current genocide in Palestine," the team wrote in a statement shared on social media. "It’s now reached an absurd level of control." 

Last year, an open letter created by Ravers For Palestine was signed by hundreds of DJs, producers, collectives and venues affiliated with London's electronic music scene in solidarity with Palestine amid Israel's "brutal and ongoing attack on Gaza”.