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The picture shows a lively theatre scene with performers holding up various signs with messages. The atmosphere is engaging and passionate, and the performance could address social and political issues. The set design is creative and colourful.

The Bucket List for Music and Live Performances

Published: 14.05.2024

Avant-garde pop concerts at the Dampfzentrale, cultural gems in the Emmental and wildly dancing youth at the Gaskessel in Bern: the various performances in and around Bern are always cheerful and atmospheric, and sometimes even come with a pinch of humour.

Bern Welcome’s tourist information at Bern main station is the official sales office for Seetickets. Perfect for people who prefer holding a physical ticket in their hands.


Contemporary performances, dance shows and avant-garde pop concerts are taking place in the former hydroelectric power station. The venue is located directly on the Aare river in the Marzili district, only a 17-minute walk from Bern main station. Once, electricity was produced here, but in the 1980s, the Dampfzentrale started establishing itself as a cultural centre. Nowadays, it’s a meeting place for artists and their audiences – a place for lively experimentation, debate, and discovery. Incidentally, the Dampfzentrale’s origin story served as inspiration for the song “Hansdampf” by the Bernese cult band “Züri West”.

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This youth and culture centre is one of the oldest of its kind: it has been a platform for Bern’s youth for almost 50 years. They are also the ones doing the organizing, with over 200 adolescents involved. The site is located on the old gas reservoirs of the city of Bern (hence the name Gaskessel, meaning gasholder) in the Marzili district. It’s about an 18-minute walk from Bern main station, a bit farther away than the Dampfzentrale. Cultural events such as concerts, parties and plays are taking place here on a regular basis. The events are just as varied as the visitors themselves: you can enjoy anything from hip-hop concerts to techno parties to poetic readings here.

To the programme

Heitere Fahne

Visitors’ eyes immediately light up as they enter the courtyard of this restaurant and gathering place: you’ll discover a large, green terrace, hidden wooden nooks and crannies, bizarre sculptures, and a glitter curtain or two. The inclusive culture centre evokes a joie de vivre which is hard to put into words – you have to experience it for yourself. Contributors are committed to their shared, incredibly creative ideas and the place gives people who need it structure and routine. And its programme guarantees a good time, with everything from plays to jazz concerts to roller discos. A programme guaranteed to be inspiring. No matter which event you attend, you’ll have a great time – and culinary treats ranging from pizza evenings to Sunday brunches accompanying these cultural performances.

To the idealists

If you are interested in the topic of inclusion, you should take a look at the project "Hand in Hand" from the inclusive children's museum Creaviva.

Old Capitol

This former cinema is now a place for rhymes from Swiss rap stars, gripping guitar riffs from rock bands, and the angelic voices of pop music. For specific concerts, make sure you check the online programme. But this cult venue in the Oberaargau doesn’t just offer musical highlights – plenty of cabaret acts will also provide humorous ones. And if you don’t live nearby, you can stay at the Hotel Meilenstein and spend the next day touring the hotel’s very own vehicle and Formula 1 museum.

Off you go!

Casinotheater Burgdorf

Small and atmospheric is how connoisseurs of the scene describe this gem in the heart of the Oberstadt (old town) of Burgdorf in the Emmental. The theatre was originally built in 1870 and recently renovated to receive a new appearance and contemporary identity. Its varied programme ranges from classical to modern art in the form of musicals, theatre and concerts. There are no limits to this wide range of cultural productions. The Casino Theater Burgdorf does not have its own ensemble, but keeps presenting different works, always adding to the wealth of performances.

To the gem in Burgdorf

Corporate offer: Scenic city tour by StattLand

City tours in Bern are not just about chasing a Swiss flag. The scenic city tours organised by StattLand offer a special experience. For example, the tour "Bern top secret - of dangerous secrets": Among other things, the group explores the questions of why a patrician woman became an agent of France and what the CIA has to do with Bern's most famous spy. On this entertaining tour of the city, we learn more about the history of espionage and secret communications in Bern. And one thing is guaranteed: The conversations during the breaks afterwards won't just be about the weather for the coming weekend.

Unravelling secrets together

Recommendation: MYLE

This hotel’s name, written in bright-blue neon letters above the entrance, stands for the most beautiful mile into the big wide world. A little bit of Pairs, a little bit of Tokyo, a little bit of New York – located just a few steps from the glass roof of Bern’s main station. At the hotel restaurant, vegetables play the lead role – meat is only served as a side dish. And in its basement, there’s a new function room for cultural events. Well-known event organizer Philippe Cornu is in charge of the programme, which features panel discussions, audiovisual contributions, a science café and, of course, lots of music.

To the promising programme (information only available in German)

Hotel Recommendation: Kreuz Herzogenbuchsee

In 1890, Amelie Moser and the local Women’s Association initiated the purchase of what today is the Kreuz Herzogenbuchsee. Her goal was to open a gathering place where the men wouldn’t spend all their money on booze. And thus, it became the first pub that did not serve alcohol. From then on, it functioned as an inn, a housekeeping school, an old people’s home and later also as a day-care centre for children – one of the first in Switzerland. Lina Bögli, who is considered Switzerland’s first female writer, also lived here and introduced people to foreign cultures. From the creative efforts of the women back then to the varied programme today – this charming hotel is a microcosm of culture!

Listen, dance, sing, stay