Live, Noise and Luxury

22 Sept. 2017 @ Board Room (Arcotel Onyx)

Speaker: Fabio De Masi (Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments, Die Linke, DE), Anja Hajduk (Mitglied des Bundestags, Bündnis90 - Die Grünen, DE), Johannes Kahrs (Mitglied des Bundestag, SPD, DE), Rüdiger Kruse (Mitglied des Bundestags, CDU, DE)
Moderator: Jan Hendrik Becker (Journalist, NDR, DE)

Go to programme here


During the last Friday session of Reeperbahn Festival, politicians representing CDU, SPD and the Greens had a last-minute opportunity to convince club owners why they deserved a vote.

NDR journalist Jan Hendrick Becker asked Rüdiger Kruse (CDU), Johannes Kahrs (SPD) and Anja Hajduk (Greens) about each party’s plans regarding the protection of cultural spaces. The panel touched upon noise issues, the availability of spaces in cities and the income and spending situation of clubs.

Kruse recommended that those who want a quiet life should move to the surrounding countryside. While music has to be turned down at some point, even in the inner city, this doesn’t mean “heavenly peace from 10pm to 8am.” The Greens also want to get away from Hamburg’s 10pm regulation, and Hajduk said her party lobbied for exemption clauses to create opportunities for clubs.

According to Kahrs, an individual solution needs to be found for each part of the city. St. Pauli, for example, thrives thanks to its clubs, while there are other areas into which people move deliberately to find peace. “How can I divide the city so anyone can find a home, no matter their life plan,” he said.

The SPD politician explained that every event organizer wants to be near the river Alster or in St. Pauli. There would, however, never be special areas in which clubs can get away with anything, while residents had no rights. It always has to be a mixture.

One way of creating living spaces while protecting venues is to build residential flats in such a way that noise levels are bearable. At the same, tenants sign a rental agreement that prevents them from suing.

If one wants to maintain the quality of a city by hosting high-quality events, life has to be made easier for event organizers and club owners, said Hajduk. She pointed out that it’s the investor/developer’s responsibility to make sure their future tenants aren’t exposed to loud music if the club arrives in the area first.

None of the politicians had any objections to reducing the VAT for clubs to 7%, which is already the case for many other cultural spaces. Kruse pointed towards a current court case involving Berlin’s Berghain. The iconic techno temple wants to pay less tax and be seen as a space for culture rather than amusement. The outcome of the case will determine whether all clubs receive the reduced VAT rate.

A lot of people working in the live event sector are being accused by the state of operating under a form of pseudo self-employment, and Hajduk proposed to exclude project based work from this charge.

As far as raising more money for culture in general is concerned, the politicians said that a sensible distribution of the money has to be guaranteed first. Once it’s clear where the money goes, one could ask for more.

None of the panelists were eager to talk about mobile drug tests to ensure the safety of club-goers, especially the CDU, which traditionally treats Germany’s controlled substances act like a hot potato.

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