Despite numerous meetings and long discussions no one is willing or able to take on the responsibility of bringing music to the Bonn Museumsplatz. As a result there will be no Open-Air Season as we know it in 2012. Vague promises of future Live Open Air music from Bonn’s Head of Culture Martin Schumacher, that the Bundeskunsthalle will continue to support ‘smaller events’ will not lift many spirits. The promises contain no ‘where’ or ‘how’.
In it’s heyday the concerts attracted 7000+ fans to see World Class attractions like Elton John, The Who and Liza Minnelli. The land and Big Tent are both owned by the Bundeskunsthalle and it’s demands this year that millions must be spent on renovations by the conglomerate renting the Site, ‘Cult Event” were clearly beyond the means of acceptance. A new sponsor has been sought, but clearly that was always going to lead nowhere without local government support. The City of Bonn however wil sadly only offer to continue live open air music in what they term a ‘Measured to Bonn format’ . But again, what that term means, no one seems to know. Alternative locations are also under consideration – although again, none seem suitable to the Bonn Council.
So, ‘Bonn Open Air’, like the ‘Bonn Summer Stage’ before it will now disappear. The suggestion that Bonn Kunsthalle will be the future organizer of live music does little to restore confidence – presumably the Kunsthalle has String Quartets in it’s own restaurant in mind. Mayor Jürgen Nimptsch’s promise that an alternative venue will be found and concerts in a suitable form will continue do little to lift the gloom either. There is no alternative site for concerts of this size – If they can’t afford to save the current site they certainly won’t build a new one. Someone commented on a General Anzeiger blog that the musicians don’t care where they play as long as they get paid. “Hi Elton, you want to play Open Air by the Rhine, or in a Basketball Hall?” I think those for whom money isn’t tight DO care!
I guess too that what has happened is to be expected from a City that introduced a tax ticket system for prostitutes after their own research told them that maintaining the system would cost more than the income it created. At any rate, Museumsplatz will now be just that – a place where only the past matters, and the future gets in the way. Sad for Bonn and all lovers of modern music who enjoyed the unique atmosphere where stars were larger than distance matchstick men and the big tent by the Rhine weaved its magic. If you were there as the marvelous Zaz sang acapella to 7000 people as a last encore to her sold out concert this year then you will know what I mean. If you weren’t, now it’s too late!
A look back to some of the memorable World Stars onstage at Museumsplatz (move your cursor over the images to see who and when)…