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Johnny Häusler told you at the end of the re:publica Finale, that you might wonder about what comes next, that you please just go along with it and perhaps ask someone about it later. Then the Bohemian Rhapsody began to play...
So, for all of you who didn't get an answer i'd like to explain, why the fuck 7.000 people sang the Bohemian Rhapsody at the end of the re:publica:
In 2010 the re:publica already was on the way to become a big and relevant player. We were 2.700 people and i can only guess, but i think i don't speculate too much if i say that this was the year, we all realized, that the re:publica is not very far away from stopping to be a wonderful yearly class reunion of the people who created the german internet culture from below (actually it started as a german blogger gathering) becoming one of the most important events for europes net politics, culture and originating, organized and maintained from and for citizen.
Why is this so important?
Because even at that time and with this scale still no NGO, no political party, no media- or other company created, changed or took this event over. The re:publica still was "our" festival and "we" got it there and we were determined to hold that ground strongly.
And this is something i'm not getting tired to tell everyone: We german net people may have a lot of differences and we may not at all be that homogenous "Netzgemeinde" that we are viewed as and called from bystanders and media. But we created this event that got bigger year by year, that grew out of a small blogger community joined by twitterers, hackers, makers and instead of adding "relevant business groups" giving the largest platform for activists for all sorts of civil rights like womens rights, refugees rights, freedom of speech in all countries, anti surveillance initiatives and so much more.
And to get back on track: i think, 2010 was the year we all knew, that we will grow out of the comfort zone of being underestimated very soon. Soon was two years later, when the re:publica left the then too small confines of the Kalkscheune and Friedrichstadtpalast and changed it's location to the Station, giving place for the massive growth into the event, 7.000 people witnessed the last three days.
But we took something with us, that is very important: A reminder of where we come from. A small gesture, a moment of Goldigkeit. And this is singing the Bohemain Rhapsody together as a very loud, massively emotional karaoke. And if you wonder why people are hugging and crying and awkwardly sniffing and why they sing with broken voices and nevertheless as loud as they possibly can, it's because this is a reminder and a promise, that the re:publica always was and always will be ours.
And this is how it came to be:
For the final session of the re:publica 2010 Johnny prepared a Skype-Interview with Biz Stone from Twitter that didn't work out: He chattet live on the stage with an assistant who obviously played for time. It developed into a hilarious funny dialogue but in the end Johnny told her that we're done waiting and hung up. Then he told us, that he has that old dream to do a karaoke with at least 1000 people and since we are that many in the room... well, how about it? He made some jokes about Biz Stone trying to reach us on Skype and we wouldn't see it because we are all singing but what the hell, let's sing.
And so a fully packed room began to sing along to an old, stuttering karaoke video of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on Youtube that is long erased there. It was awkward and funny and we immediately knew that if we do this again next year we will start a wonderful, wonderful tradition, even when they tried to get along without it one year.
To prove, that this is not just a nice legend - at last there can't be more than 1.000 people out of those 7.000 that really have been there - i can show you that all of this really happened:
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