FolkWorld #59 03/2016
© Editorial by Rudolstadt Festival

The F Word

A statement from the festival team Rudolstadt: Against xenophobia and racism!

Fanfare Ciocarlia, Rudolstadt 2008

Artist Video TFF Rudolstadt @ FolkWorld:
FW#34, #40, #58

Colombia / Cumbia
RUTH 2016

Since 1991, the festival for roots, folk and world music in Rudolstadt is dedicated to international understanding by musical means. Already when designing the first festival we wrote: "The idea of cosmopolitanism and international understanding is not new in the folk music scene ... foreigners living in Germany made a major contribution."

The festival team vigorously opposes all forms of xenophobia, right-wing propaganda, racism and violence against people who are looking for protection here - as well as verbal aggression from (even Christian Democratic) politicians, with whom the word "charity" only seems to play a subordinate role.

As a festival, we can position us only once a year. We do so, however, clearly and unequivocally for 25 years. And intend to continue to do so: The festival stands for cosmopolitanism and will continue to celebrate "a colorful and joyous meeting of cultures" (Federal president Roman Herzog, 1996). Moreover, it is an obligation and a matter of course for the individual members of the festival team to stand against all tendencies of ostracism and intolerance at their respective places of residence even beyond the festival days.

With horror, we had to experience xenophobic attacks across the Federal Republic in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, attacks had been over and over again. Occassionally, there had been a strong brown stench across the festival town itself. And it would be incorrect to claim that the city was free from people with such ideas. But just as well, it is not admissible to disqualify Rudolstadt as a centre of brown disposition (as the Frankfurter Rundschau recently did). This is unjust towards hundreds of citizens who - given the current refugee situation - are not willing to accept any approaches of xenophobic agitation in the town and are voluntarily and daily helping arriving refugees in the Landkreis Saalfeld-Rudolstadt with words and deeds to settle in a foreign environment — the NNR society, Neue Nachbarn Rudolstadt, for example.

Music can not solve the problems of integration. But it can give new citizens a feeling of home and offer their German neighbours an insight into their culture, which are the first steps towards a - not only cultural - understanding. At the first Rudolstadt festival mayor Dr. Hartmut Franz put it like this: "In times of change, which are associated with uncertainty and social problems for many citizens, there is the danger of isolation from the community. Again, a celebration with encounters and new acquaintances can be helpful, because nothing is more liberating as discussing joys and sorrows with (new) friends." 25 years later, the many people who are seeking protection from persecution and war here pose new challenges to society. The words of the former mayor apply unabated under these new circumstances. They are mission and impetus for the festival.

Simone Dake - Jens Daniel - Ulrich Doberenz - Bernhard Hanneken - Thomas Hauf - Steffen Henkel - Miriam Rossius - Petra Rottschalk - Karin Ströming - Peter Uhlmann - Jürgen B. Wolff

Figli di Madre Ignota, Rudolstadt 2010

Translation by Walkin' Tom Keller. The next edition of Germany’s biggest folk, roots and world music festival takes place 7 - 10 July 2016. The country focus will be on COLOMBIA. Dance of the year: CUMBIA. Further highlights will be the German world music award RUTH, a variety of lectures and workshops, dozens of street musicians and instrument maker’s stalls.

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