Together with the World Cup, “popKick.06” will be held in Berlin from June 9 to July 9. There will be public viewings where you can watch the game on two enormous screens. This event in the large Treptower Park is not just for watching soccer, but enjoying live performances, food, and relaxing in the green surroundings of early summer days like we used to.

For the first time in thirty-two years Germany will become the stage for the World Cup. Thirteen years after the completion of the Berlin Wall, it opened fifteen years ago, at that time West Germany was opened. East Berlin’s symbol is the TV Tower, which now has a soccer ball motif towering high in the sky above Berlin.

With many artists and youngsters living there, the area of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshein bordering Treptower Park is lively. Spree River flows through East and West Berlin, at Treptower there are Paddle Bikes you can ride. Now at the East Side Gallery, the artists’ pictures portray the Berlin Wall side streets, in a way preserving them. Following the canal there are cafes set up on its sides, proceeding for about twenty minutes you will see many trees. The popKick.06 venue is in between the park and the entrance.

This part of the park is 20 000 square meters wide. Taking the first break from the entrance you will find the place where the stage and screens are set up. When Germany plays, there will be German musicians; on those days where there are games, there will be musicians from those countries, that’s the plan for the live performances. At the edge of the venue Mexican, Asian, and German street stalls are set up as well as massage rooms. There are groups of people playing small soccer games, people from a rock climbing service with a practice rock, people playing frisbee, reading books, and playing under the sun. There are many games and live performances with which to pass the time.

On the 24th, in preparation for the final match of the tournament for Germany at 5:00pm, people began gathering about 3 hours before. There were many people, but predominantly those wearing the German colours, black, red, and yellow.

It proceeded to 4:00pm and the venue was crowded. There was a Lego soccer game animation broadcast on the screens. The excitement increased and everyone yelled when the Lego doll scored the deciding goal. Then the game started. They sang the German national anthem in unison and the kick off signal was given, the excitement in the venue increased even more.

The following day at 3:00pm there was the Mexican band, Los de Abajo. When they were watching soccer, everyone gathered in front of the screens, but it was different for the live performances. Los de Abajo has seemingly chaotic music with Salsa, Ska, and Funk music mixed together. Everyone gathered in front, dancing freely. There was a small break area where there were some people laying down and others just having a good time. That peaceful atmosphere contrasted with the day before. There were people having picnics with their children, seeming like a family atmosphere. Springy music reverberated until 5:00pm when the England vs. Equador batle started, spectators walked with a serious gait towards the screens.

Music can exceed borders and country names are called repeatedly at the World Cup. These two things can probably create harmony in the green surroundings of the popKick.06 venue.

Date: 9th June – 9th July, 2006
Place: Treptower Park

Text and photos: Ayako Yamamoto
Translation: Jacqueline Ste-Croix

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