January 28, 11 am: an image with a large question mark appears simultaneously on the social pages of the live clubs, symbol of contemporary live music in Italy. These are the images of the facades, the boxes, the entrance doors, which over the years, for all fans, have represented the access route to a concert, an event, a shared emotion, an experience lived with expectation. and lightheartedness.
In the image, in addition to the logo of the venue, the year of birth and 2021 appear to suggest a possible closing year.
Over ninety Italian concert halls, of which 22 in Lombardy, at the same time, pose a question about this 2021 that has just begun, which seems to follow in the footsteps of the past year, and about their future. 2020 marked the forced closure of all these realities, imposed by the great global health emergency. In fact, the first concerts were postponed to February a year ago, with the naive confidence of a few months, and then never recovered.
In the shared captions we read: “The last concert?”Reinforced more by the hashtag that leaves room for many interpretations and certainly a great sense of anguish and dismay: #ultimoconcerto.
When will The Last Concert? Or maybe it has already been?
When we talk about Live Clubs we must think first of all of a set of structures to be maintained, of a staff made up of numerous people who invest constant energy and commitment to offer a proposal linked to quality contemporary music. We are talking about spaces that are today in a situation of absolute emergency, without any certainty about the future and the actual possibility of being able to overcome this long phase of crisis.
We are talking about stages that over the years have hosted and raised artists of all kinds, including those who are now acclaimed in stadiums and large national and international festivals and spaces that have formed the most established and recognized professionals in this sector.
Concert halls and live clubs are forges of culture. Places that allow musicians to express themselves, to create and disseminate art, to meet the public. Far from being mere meeting points, these realities stand out from the much discussed protagonists of the nightlife for their ability to convey creative and safe aggregation and sociality in the territories. These are spaces that, in most cases, have remained in strict and respectful silence for a year now.
In Lombardy, the spaces that today, under the many question marks, wanted to show their facades, are: Alcatraz, Fabrique, Arci Bellezza, La Scighera – Arci, Arci Agorà, Legend, Magazzini Generali in Milan. Live Music Club of Trezzo sull’Adda (MI), Arci-Tambourine (Seregno – MI), Circolone di Legnano, Bloom (Mezzago -MB), Il Druso, Polaresco space for Bergamo, Molloy Dairy and Stran Palato of Brescia, for Mantua: Circolo Arci Dallò APS, Circolo Arci Tom APS, Circolo Arci Chinaski, Circolo Arci Casbah APS, Circolo Arci Mantova APS. Circolo Arcipelago di Cremona and Cantine Coopuf in Varese.
All together they joined hands to send us a signal, adhering to what is understood to be a national campaign: creating a map of question marks that dot the entire boot.
The Lombard live clubs and concert halls carry the weight of almost a year of closure on their shoulders.
The Drusus in particular is closed from February 22nd. In this year, thanks to a fundraiser, he managed to cover the expenses of these long months of closure. In October we committed ourselves to a further economic effort to adapt to the new security measures required and to be able to reopen with extreme caution and very limited admissions. Unfortunately in the autumn we managed to organize only three concerts before undergoing a new forced closure, after not even a week of activity.
Now, for us and for all the Italian live clubs, the situation is getting more difficult every day and we do not see concrete prospects for a restart on the horizon.
The initiative leads to reflect on the condition in which live clubs and concert halls are found. Currently, despite the enormous role that these spaces have in terms of creation, promotion and dissemination of culture, and their indisputable social value, it can be said that they have been almost ignored by the numerous decrees that have taken place in recent months. Provisions that have mentioned cinemas and theaters in terms of entertainment, but have not paid due attention to these realities that risk disappearing.
The impact of these over ninety photos and the related questions, however, is not negligible.
What will be the next step?
An initiative desired, organized and promoted by: KeepOn Live, Arci and Assomusica