Village Sauvage – Fighting for the Right to Culture

This weekend, a big cultural happening has unsettled the conservative establishment’s handling of open cultural space in Basel. As the few remaining open spaces in Basel are being closed down one after another, subculture stands up. This weekend it was Village Sauvage. An entire housing estate subject to demolition was transformed into a huge party area.

Hundreds of party goers gathered at 9.30 pm in Riehen and were guided by party officials to a hitherto secret place. It was a housing estate, which will be demolished by the government shortly to make room for new houses. Twelve houses, located in a park and standing empty, were annexed and transformed into party locations. Every music style imaginable, from Punk to Electro, from Roots Reggae to Breakcore, and from Dubstep to live Rock’n’Roll. All kinds of people gathered in huge numbers, peacefully cherishing the place, the music and the occasion.

As open spaces in Basel are being closed down one after another, the cultural scene is trying to find new ones. With Basel being a city canton in Switzerland, open spaces tend to be filled with new buildings. As many as four new shopping malls are planned or being built. Quite a number of culturally initiative groups are urgently asking the same question: where will independent culture go? After the closing of Nt-Areal, independent culture lacks space to pull projects that enrich Basel’s culture without depending on the establishment. Some of the groups discuss the issue, and some of them take action. This is what Village Sauvage has proved this weekend: culture will not be stopped. It will move, and it will eventually pop up elsewhere. There’s no stopping that.

Article re-edited on 20th October.

>> See photos of the happening on FlickR

>> Village Sauvage: Message to the Press (German)

>> Village Sauvage on Twitter

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