In September, the Singa team went on an excursion to Berlin, Germany - and of course, we visited the famous Bearpit Karaoke in Mauerpark. Bearpit Karaoke, one of the most legendary open air karaoke events in history, has been running 10 years now every Sunday from April to October, weather depending! During those years, thousands of people (including myself) made memories that will last a lifetime.

Of course, every legendary party has its founder. I was lucky enough to meet and have a chat with Mr. Gareth Lennon, the producer and host of Bearpit Karaoke, when he was visiting Helsinki last week. We had a little discussion about Bearpit Karaoke and karaoke in general.

Gareth in Helsinki. Photo: Juha Heikkinen

When was the first time you saw or sang karaoke?

I think it was long ago in a pub in Ireland where I was working in. There was a travelling karaoke guy who played karaoke songs with big laser discs the size of an LP.

The first time I sang karaoke was around 2001 in bike messenger parties in Dublin and I wanted to sing “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. They put it in but “Mustang Sally” started to play instead. So I sang “Mustang Sally” and it went down really well! Skip to a couple of hours later when I did sing “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” it didn't go very well. LOL.

To see something unexpected is definitely the best thing in karaoke.

How did you get the idea for Mauerpark Bearpit karaoke?

I just wanted to do something with karaoke outdoors. I bought the karaoke equipment and put those on my courier bike. I rolled out on the streets and stopped people and asked if they want to sing. On those days I was living near Mauerpark and then one Sunday I rode my bike there and that’s how it started.

What kind of tips or advice you would give to a beginner Karaoke Jockey?

That’s a hard one! I think just being yourself is not a bad idea? Hmmm, maybe let things happen but don’t let it turn into free for all. So let things happen, be in charge and be yourself!

What is the best thing about karaoke?

I have been doing it for a long time now but it’s still great to be surprised. You can see a stranger singing and you can just have your mind blown. To see something unexpected is definitely the best thing in karaoke.

So whenever you get a chance, go check out Bearpit Karaoke, in Mauerpark on Sundays at 3pm (if it's not raining).

More about Bearpit Karaoke: http://www.bearpitkaraoke.com/