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)…
Latest news is that the Icerink owner can’t afford to cover all the costs that the KAH demands either.
55.000 concert visitors + 60.000 ice-rink users are being abandoned by the Bonn Council.
In Ancient Rome the City Squares were given over tothe people – not in modern Bonn it seems, where the Council will now pay 1 million Euros to restore the square so that the KAH can (so the General Anzeiger states) amongst other vague plans, improve it’s gastronomy.
Or was it always the plan to get the stage out and more tables in?
Typical, narrow minded thinking by the Bonn council, willing to pay 1millon Euros to restore the square so people can dine at more tables, funny I have to admit that on the occasions that I have been through the square there have been very few people dining at the tables that are already there.
Surely people going to concerts or using the ice rink at christmas must generate a fair amount of income, so why cant Bonn council do both, Open up the square more (take down the fences) and add more tables for diner’s on non concert days (when I guess there will be fewer people there anyway judging by what I have seen in the past)and replace the partitions/clear away the extra tables on concert days? That way you can have the best of both worlds. It will never happen though, money talks and councils everywhere don’t seem to have much these days.
Oh well, here’s hoping the concerts return one day.
As far as art and culture are concerned, losing the Museumsplatz as an open air concert venue is as tragic as it is unnecessary. However, its seems that the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle as the owner of the venue has torpedoed all attempts at finding a viable solution. In the discussions, its representatives have exhibited not just an arrogant and narrowminded understanding of culture, but also a total lack of vision that sickens me.