Gerhard Schulz & Markus Göres: Live at the Wiesbaden “Schlachter” – A truly transregional factor of culture

“England’s Dreaming,” Jon Savage’s big story about Brit­­ish youth cultures and the break of Punk ends early in 1980 with the words “His­to­ry is made by those who say “No” and punk’s utopian heresies remain its gift to the world.” One of the most efficacious of those heresies to this day, is the idea of self-empowerment, of “DIY” (“Do It Your­self”). This takes us right into the middle of the history of the Kulturzentrum Schlachthof Wies­ba­­­den – a history that started in De­­cember 1994, 14 years after Savage declared the end of Punk, and that is based on that defiant DIY, which in this context means one thing: Pluck up the courage to get started. The reason being that Wies­ba­­­den was thought to be over­­due for a cultural centre, that the cultural darkness was no long­­er bearable, and that the false al­­ternatives of endless lament or leaving town were unacceptable. Quite a bit has happened since.
Today, in its 15th year of existence, the Schlachthof is one of the biggest or­­gan­­­izers of concerts and cultural events in the Rhine-Main region – and for quite a while, it has been more than just a “soft” location factor when it comes to the places of (pop) culture that Wies­baden has to offer.


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In spite of its growth, the Schlachthof has never lost its integrity. In addition to several event halls with capacities between 300 and 1,800 people, it now also includes a restaurant with garden pub, which is called “60/40”. In the mid­­dle of the “cultural park” growing around the Schlachthof, it caters to the gastronomic well-being of its guests, even outside of regular event hours.
Other than the Schlacht­hof venue, the Kul­­turzen­t­­rum, which still operates as a collective, now also organizes the Wies­baden Folklore Festival (which takes place year­ly during the last weekend of August and is attended by more than 20,000 people) as well as events in the Wies­baden Kurhaus, the Wiesba­den Rhine-Main Halls, and the Offen­ba­cher Stadt­halle. Theatrical performances, flea mar­­­kets, lectures, and dances from tango evenings to breakbeat nights com­­ple­ment the offerings. In its daily work, the 14-member full-time core of the or­­gan­ization is assisted by a relief staff of up to 60, comprised mostly of students.

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The concert programme reads like a “Who’s Who” of contemporary pop music. It encompasses the entire “mainstream of minorities”, to use the now classic expression coined in the mid-nineties by Tom Holert and Mark Terkessidis in their study by the same name. The spec­­trum of artists who have been on stage here reach from hip-hop to punk to in­­die and electro, from reggae to hardcore, from soul to world music, and from jazz to avant-garde. The most noble mis­­sion that a cultural centre can adopt is not to bring a few voices to your ears, but rather the entire orchestra – harmon­ic or dissonant. In doing so, bookings have not been limited to the German market. The bookings span from Sport­freunde Stiller (who started their ca­­reer here in front of a crowd of 20 and later were sold out) to The Notwist (who turned the Upper Bavarian town of Weil­­heim into one of the most im­­portant in­­ter­­­natio­nal music pro­­ductions at the in­­tersection of elec­­tronics and guitar), from the in­­­ventors of German hip-hop, Die Fan­tas­tischen Vier, to in­­ter­­national artists such as the “conscious rap­pers” of De La Soul, as well as avant-garde acts such as the New York no-wave pioneers, Sonic Youth (to whom the Düs­sel­dor­­fer Kunst­­hallen dedicated their very own exhibition in the spring of 2009), and At The Drive-In, who played here on the same stage as Motörhead and other metal bands. Maceo Parker, who worked with James Brown, ap­­peared here as did the Klezmatics, one of the most exciting new klezmer bands in the world.


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After all that has been said, it is not sur­­prising to hear positive mention, from Hamburg to Los Angeles, of the Schlacht­­hof Wiesbaden, sometimes referred to as “Weisbaden” (the author vouches for the truthfulness of this observation). The Schlachthof has become a pivotal venue for pop culture. Worldwide. So, it is only logical that it has been occupying first place in the category of “best club” in the reader charts of Ger­ma­­ny’s most-read music magazine, “intro”‚ for several years now.

In a year, more than 300 events take place here, at­­tracting over 100,000 vis­­­i­tors. And that from a draw area that, depending on the act, goes beyond the boundaries of the state of Hessen, if not the country. You will see numberplates here from Strasbourg and Paris as well as The Netherlands, Belgium and Swit­­zerland. There was even word about Aus­­tralians who planned their trip to Eu­­rope around a show here at the Schlacht­hof. And we sure love to see those artists’ tour posters that mention these four German cities on their schedule: Ber­­lin, Hamburg, Munich, and Wi­­es­baden.

 

Gerhard_Schulz_FotoAfter a stay in London from 1989 to 1991, the author, born in 1961, started work­­ing for the state capital Wiesbaden. In 1992, he co-founded the Kul­tur­zen­trum Schlacht­hof e.V. in Wiesbaden, of which he has been general manager since 1996. In 2005, he co-founded Schlacht­hof Kul­­tur GmbH, of which he has been a share­­hol­der and manager. Since 2008, he has been coach and change manager as well.

 

 

DSC01285The author, born in 1973, studied law in Mainz as well as sociology, po­­li­ti­­cal science and philosophy in Frankfurt. Since 1997, he has been dedicated to the Wies­baden culture and communication cen­­tre Schlachthof. In 1998, he found­­ed Re­wika Records. In 2005, he co-founded Schlacht­hof Kultur GmbH, being a shareholder ever since. Since 2008, he has worked for the Schlachthof as editor-in-chief and consultant in booking and marketing.