Berlin club scene wants culture high

Berlin club scene wants culture high
Photo: DPA
Members of Berlin's music scene are campaigning for the German capital's legendary club culture to be treated like theatre or opera by city officials.

Backers of the initiative Musik 2020 Berlin want “political and financial recognition” for the city’s popular music scene, which continues to prosper “in spite of worsening circumstances,” according to a statement released this week.

The campaign lists over 400 signatures from artists, record labels, promoters, clubs and concert venues, all of whom want the city to better appreciate the “cultural benefits” that they provide.

“The potential from the music sector and its ability in terms of development for the entire city has clearly been underestimated from a political perspective,” Sören Birke, a member of the Berlin Music Commission, said in a statement.

The initiative said the music sector brings in around €1 billion annually to the city, with at least 13,000 official employees and 40 percent of overnight stays in the city coming from those under the age of 30.

But club owners have felt growing pressure due to tougher property restrictions and encroachment on their venues. In particular, two prominent clubs, Bar 25 and Maria am Ufer, were forced to close due to development along the Spree River.

The campaign hopes that giving Berlin’s popular music scene the same status as classical music or other “high culture” entertainment may protect it from such troubles in future.

But not all of Berlin’s nightlife practitioners were so keen to join the party, perhaps fearful of what opening their doors to city officials might bring.

“We have not been part of it and we are not planning to be. That’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter,” Nick Höppner from the influential Ostgut record label connected to the Berlin club behemoth Berghain told The Local via email.

The Local/DAPD/rm

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