4 Feb 2015


Many of my English friends have asked me what on earth Freakstock and the Jesus Freaks, which I keep talking about, is all about.

Let me explain the:
and who.

The Jesus Freaks in Germany have their roots in the counter-culture "Jesus movement" (or "Jesus People") in America, founded as a hippie Christian movement in the 1960s.

The Jesus Freaks movement in Germany however, was founded only much later in 1991 by Martin Dreyer in Hamburg. Hamburg is the third-biggest city located in the north of Germany. In 1994, the organisation registered itself as Jesus Freaks International as a non-profit group headquartered in Berlin.

Who found refuge in this new type of church? Well, the early group was made up of punks, homeless persons, anyone marginalised by society or church. They were scandalous: they spoke to god like he was a good friend, listened to rock music and met for church in pubs. They pretty much freaked out both the conservative Germans and the more conservative churches.

The Jesus Freaks started Freakstock...for all the freaks. Their mission was to not discriminate anyone and to make god more real and approachable. And so, Freakstock was a music festival that still to this day gathers together young and old, conservative or punk, rich and poor every year.

To me, Freakstock 2014 was a festival with rad music, workshops and sermons. But the coolest thing was how at home I felt. When you speak to someone about Freakstock, they always say, "It's like coming home!". And it is. Maybe because I found being a Christian in the first-world country of Germany really hard. Harder that in South Africa, where I now live, because here religion is part of the culture. But in Germany, telling you work colleagues you went to church on Sunday is like saying you believe in Santa Claus.

So, Freakstock symbolises freedom to me. Here, I don't have to defend my faith. I can worship god in whichever way I want to. There are workshops for Christian meditation, dance worship, learning about a new mission, discussing your year ahead or about living in community somewhere. There is all sorts of music: Christian heavy metal, electro and the "normal" worship. And I don't belong to any subculture, I'm pretty "ordinary" and still felt like I fitted in.

Of course, the location added its charm. Freakstock 2014 was held in Borgentreich at the Coptic Orthodox church grounds in eastern Germany. The facilities are full of large dormitories and old, run-down buildings and the Freakstock organisers were allowed to go wild: screw in nails, hang up posters, photos, decorate the grounds with fairy lights, a spewing dinosaur, big posters, a skate park, old couches everywhere, a huge tea tent, a number of different stages were built up... One bathroom was even decorated like a circus.

But the coolest thing about Freakstock for me is gathering every morning for the sermon in front of the big stage and seeing hundreds of people, from all different subcultures and walks of life, praising one god.

Watch the video of Freakstock 2014 and the beautifully shot Freakstock 2012 video with the Josh Garrels soundtrack.

Here are some photos that I took.

Check out their Facebook page and website for more information.  

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