When the Westerwald band ‘Max is Alright’ steps onto the ‘Little Stage’ on Sunday (30 July) it will be the last show ever at the Kunst!Garten in Bonn, after six eventful years of food, drinks and music by the ‘pond’.
The mini stage at Kunst!Garten and it’s surrounding gastronomy have had a chequered life. Musically there have been some magic moments, I remember discovering local rockers ‘Deserted’ there and remember in particular a colourful and memorable appearance by the exhuberant Gabby Young & The Animals before she went on to later appear at Bonn Harmonie. The yearly PopFarm concert was also a highlight, giving as it did youngsters learning the ropes a chance to play live and in front of more than Mum and Dad.
Which is not too far away from my own memory of the stage. It was the scene of my own first, and until now only, live appearance open air. John Harrison and Paolo Pacifico kindly asked me to join them for ‘People get Ready’. I duly took the stage, and all was going well until some errant sound technician insisted I plug my guitar into the sound system. Luckily I was quick-witted enough to toggle the volume switch on my acoustic down before anyone really heard me! Ah, it was fun but ‘too much too soon’ for me. Paolo and John, seasoned professionals that they are, took my background noise in their stride.
My memories of the gastronomy are not always as positive as my musical ones. I did discover a tasty Slovenian Grauburgünder wine from Puklavec but that disappeared from the choice in recent years and anyway it often seemed like asking for anything too exactly led only to confusion. An order of chips with ketchup may take a half hour to be called – or indeed never be called at all. And what was that with getting a plastic disc when you ordered a drink anyway? Surely the fact that I had a glass proved I’d bought my drink there? The staff could never explain that conundrum either.
Visits to the Kunstgarten became increasingly sporadic as the uncertainty of ‘will it, won’t it happen?’ took hold last year. I visited on five occasions – three of which to discover that the concert was cancelled. It seemed like a single grey cloud mid afternoon could ruin everything. I became wary of recommending it to friends or making arrangements to meet people there.
This year, without the cocktail bar’s colour and music, the remaining cuisine took on the appearance of a street corner booth and, together with a lake over-run with algae it’s no longer the scenic place to relax that it once was. The shame of it is though that it was initially, and could again be, that scenic idyll to relax with a drink and listen to music in the fresh air. It just needed some organization and attention. Sadly, the Bonn Council doesn’t seem to agree and is doing what 2013’s fire couldn’t manage – consigning Kunst!Garten alongside ‘Bonner Sommer’ and ‘Klangwelle’ to the list of places you used to go in bonn to have fun.
Please leave your Kunst!Garten memories in the comments below.
To end, some photographic memories from Kunst!Garten…