It's 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in the German capital. Surrounded by commuters on the subway, there's anything but a party feeling in the air. Bleary-eyed Berlin's early birds coax themeselves into the day with their morning caffeine fix, grateful to know they've made it to this week's halfway mark.
In Berlin's Friedrichshain, however, some 600 people are getting to rave their way into the day at the capital's latest party craze.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the queue of glittering neon-legging clad Berliners waiting outside Friedrichain's Neue Heimat were returning from a night out. But instead of looking worse for wear, these fresh-faced party-goers are about to ring in the day on Morning Gloryville's colorful dance floor.
Awaiting the morning revelers inside is a party like no other. This latest revolution is about the people, the music and the dancing. Known for its alternative scene with the latest social trends, this latest revolution in clubbing feels right at home in Germany's capital. Free of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, the sober morning rave is made for having a good time before the working day starts - proving that you don't need to be intoxicated to let yourself go and have fun.
Morning Gloryville arrived in Berlin thanks in part to co-organizer Marta Cornellana who first heard about the original London morning rave some 18 months ago. After volunteering at the event in the UK, Marta caught the Gloryville bug and made it her mission to bring the party to Berlin where she was put in touch with former journalist and fellow Gloryville fanatic Tom Barber.
"I got goose bumps and just totally fell in love with Morning Gloryville," the 36-year-old told DW.
All you can dance
At 6.20 a.m. on the dot, the party's in full swing. Easing the crowds into the dancing mood in one corner is a yoga workshop, in another free massages are underway. Delicious smoothies and fresh coffee are the perfect start to the four-hour dance-a-thon.
It isn't long, however, until the coffee cups are left by the wayside and the dance floor is teeming with people of all ages in the most colorful of outfits. But it isn't all feather boas, shimmering face paint and sequin leggings. Pulling their best moves are office workers, managers, shop assistants - many of whom are already dressed for work, ready to make a quick dash when the breakfast rave is over.
Among them is 52-year-old Ulrike, who's attending Berlin Morning Gloryville for the second time. "What makes it special is that it's in the morning, everyone's fresh, sober and it's a great atmosphere," the graphic designer said.
Having now been launched across four continents in 20 different cities, including New York, Bangalore, Paris and Dubai, Morning Gloyville is very much an international party.
Business developer Jelle traveled to Berlin's morning rave from the Netherlands, after having already been to one in Amsterdam. "I just had to come," the 22-year-old said, "I think it's so nice that it's in the morning. Everyone's so happy, and there's no alcohol, just juice and coffee!"
As sunrise begins to creep in through the windows, there's no sign of an end to the masses of Gloryville "citizens" flooding through the door. "We were completely sold out today," co-organizer Marta told DW.
Among the 600 revelers, there are already some regular faces who have been coming back time and time again.
"We have some very beautiful people here who came to the very first one in December. They're coming everytime, dancing, and are totally happy here. It's amazing. We're growing a family," the 36-year-old Spaniard beamed.
"It's a very different environment. Everybody is totally fresh, because they've just woken up and they're totally happy to dance in the morning. It's also a very inclusive party, which means that children can come, older people can be here. It makes for a very happy party," she added.
Representing Berlin's older generation, and proving to be a popular dance partner among the younger revelers is 70-year-old Günther. "Last time it was a little more comfortable, as it wasn't so full, but it's great! I read about the party on Facebook. There are super people here. Everyone's in a great mood. It rubs off on everyone. It's just so much fun," he crowed.
Just behind Günther is a young family with two toddlers - proving that this party knows no age limit.
The dancing is certainly infectious. It's refeshing to see a dance floor bursting with fun, as opposed to the pretense, which often fills many a dance floor with people worrying too much about what they look like to dance and have a good time.
At 10:30 a.m. and not a second earlier, the music comes to an end to raucous applause. Until next month, the feathers and sequins are packed away.
But will the rest of Germany be swapping their morning bread roll in favor of the disco ball anytime soon?
"We're open to expanding across Germany," Marta says. "I would love to do it everyday and dance together in the morning. But the concept for it is for the event to take place once a month around the world."
Although the glitter may be gone, there's not a single face without a smile as Gloryville's "citizens" head off to work and back to the grindstone. Getting up in the morning never seemed so good.Kate Brady, Berlin