“Bonn is half as big as the main cemetery in Chicago – and twice as quiet!”
Just one of the many jokes that is going around these days. Is Bonn in danger of being a musical backwater? Think back just a few years and remember when the Summer brought us Open Air at Museumsplatz, Live music in the Markplatz (Bonner Sommer), Free Rock Music in the Rheinpark (RheinKultur), Sommergarten on the Kunsthalle roof, All of them gone. The last remnants are struggling to survive against the odds, and against the ‘Silent Nights’ brigade, and so it goes on.
This week we heard of the early plans for this years Kunst!Rasen Season. Currently Unheilig and Simple Minds are the highlights at a venue that in it’s short life has brought us Dylan, Lou Reed, Santana, Zaz and many great musical evenings to savor. There could have been another great highlight this year with Neil Young only all those restrictions that the organizers are having to work around ended talks.
More top Acts are promised by Ernst-Ludwig Hartz but the possibility that shows will start at 5pm and end by 8pm on Saturdays is not something that will make Bonn an attractive live stage. Rock music in particular thrives on its stage lighting for atmosphere. In the past only later shows on the Kunst!Rasen had the benefit of darkness – now even the last show threatens to be encoring in broad daylight. I fear a spiral that begins with appearing in Bonn becoming so problematic that major stars say no. This makes audiences drop down, and leading to the City saying “Hey, why have a stage on the Rheinaue? No one is going to what’s there anyway!”
Hopefully I’m being overly pessimistic. A welcome return is certainly the Kunst!Garten in any event (25 May – 5 October). There was some super music onstage there for free last year: Deserted and Gabby Young being my personal favourites (both playing elsewhere in Bonn THIS year too!) No Kunstpalast? I can live with that – It never quite managed to look appealing and bands like B52’s and Beth Hart have a great live stage in the Harmonie to appear on. To keep a big venue here though we need to support the events at Kunst!Rasen with our feet. Go along to what’s offered and don’t let that ‘No one is going there anyway’ line ever cross anyone’s lips. Support it, speak up for it and ENJOY it!
It was also depressing to hear that the very popular Klangwelle is also ‘too loud’ for the centre of Bonn and has had to look for a new location. There will probably be a spot somewhere around the University grounds for it, but, rather like the Open Air Tent made the Museumsplatz unique, a place in the Town Square in front of Beethoven’s watchful eye was special.
Full marks for those who are standing up against the ‘silence’ brigade like Bonn kann mehr – Rettet das Bönnsche Lebensgefühl
We will all have plenty of time to be dead in a cemetry, Life is too short to LIVE in one!
Current Kunst!Rasen Line-up:
11.07.2014: Simple Minds
12.07.2014: Chick Corea & Stanley Clarke Duet: The Songs of Return to Forever
24.08.2014: Parov Stelar