Bonn WILL Rock!

I couldn’t help thinking that the recent appearance by Sunny Skies at the end of the ‘Beethoven Countdown Day’seemed rather like a camouflaged way to slip Rock music past the ‘Lärm-Motzkis’.  A glorious and welcome return to the sunny Summer days happily passed in that very square for the missed by many ‘Bonn Summer’ evenings that seem a century ago now.  But should we really need such subterfuge anyway?  3songs is a bit biased I know, but here’s my analysis…

This Summer the arguments over live music in the open air seem to have gotten, well, louder.  Calls for changes in the ‘outdated’ but  legal finishing time of 10pm seem to have met with a cool reception if the comments that follow the editorials are to be believed.  A recent letter to the local General Anzeiger from one dissatisfied reader decries it (the GA) as betraying it’s fundamental duty as a public organ by not being objective (A newspaper not being objective?  Gasp!)  As someone who lives in Bonn and of course loves live music I think I should also be able to put down my soapbox, step up to the mark and loudly make myself heard – before 10pm at least…

 

Can it be noisy living in Bonn?  Yes it jolly well can be, depending on what you define as ‘noisy’ of course.  I’ve just come indoors because although it’s hot, one of my neighbours has the television on full blast and the windows open. But even this seems like a sad regression from a few years back  when I could stand on my balcony and actually hear BB King or the Beach Boys or David Bowie playing live and in person from the Museumsplatz.  AC/DC coverband Dirty Deeds 79 could be heard at 10pm from the Rheinaue when the wind decided to blow in my direction.  Now though, since the decibel crackdown, I just have to put up with the noise of my neighbours’ TV’s, BBQ’s, Lawnmowers and stereo speakers.   A few years back I noted that although I’m not allowed to hear BB King play ‘Key to the Highway’  in person after 10pm, a neighbour’s son would have gotten away with playing it all night, murdering the same song in the endlessly wrong key into the early hours.

Rockaue 2017 – Oh my my, the grass is getting all wet!!! and Loud? I could stand in the photopit without ear plugs…

Now where was I?  Ah yes, that GA letter …  “Why should we support music promoters who clearly don’t know what they are doing because they are bringing people to Bonn that not enough people want to see?  …and why support them when there are far more important things that need council funding like (and I quote) nursery schools and public baths”

 

Let’s take the first bit of that: The promoters are I am sure perfectly well aware of who will bring in the public.  The bands themselves however are also well aware that they can’t play as loudly as they would like, or for as long as they would like.  Last year saw local heroes BAP do a splendid three hour show but the last half hour or so, through sound limits, was pretty much acoustic.  This year we had Jean-Michel Jarre, one of the true greats of electronic music, famous for stunning light shows, waving goodbye to the fans as darkness finally fell because it was past curfew time.  I got home in good time to catch another neighbour having a birthday party until 3am.  I’m not complaining.  I choose to live in the City – where things are happening.   You don’t go on holiday to Mallorca and then complain about the sunshine.  You don’t buy a house above a brewery and complain about drunks and you don’t live near a concert venue if you don’t like loud music.  You’re getting my point I think?!

Jean-Michel Jarre – 2017’s answer to Klangwelle proves Bonn still has magic.

On to the second complaint, that this money could be better spent on Nursery schools and public baths.  I don’t have any children, and would be quickly asked to leave if I sat on a bench in the local school playground, so I’m not getting much out of this deal except that the children learning to finger paint on my taxes will grow up to be new Banky’s one day maybe.  But Public Baths?  Why is there some inordinate belief that a City must provide free bathing facilities for it’s people as a basic human right?  Why swimming and not music?

Tent-Life: The Museumsplatz crowd for Zaz in 2011

But now to my moment of enlightenment…

Going back a few years I remembered the end of the Open-Air at Museumsplatz all too well.  The trouble began as I remember when it was discovered that money given to the Bundeskunsthalle to support it’s having lots of obscure paintings that nobody wanted to see was actually being used to bring musicians to the square that thousands wanted to see.  Naturally we can’t have money going towards things that people want –  if they want it they should pay for it.  Of course!

Museumsplatz 2011 – These concerts were too popular to be worth saving?

So there it is;  the answer is so obvious: At some (possibly not too distant) point in time, after the speakers at open air shows are by law removed altogether – and concerts  will, by law, finish at 5pm (so that people can go home and fire up their garden BBQ) BAP will do an acoustic concert of 3 minutes to an audience of three people (one of whom will be holding a decibel measurement device).  Finally, No one will attend the shows and that will be their salvation.  Rock Music in the open air will be considered culturally worthy of preserving and the funding money will flood in.  Panic over…

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