Open air in the city: it is possible if you just want it


“Krone” reporter Robert Fröwein walks through the city and talks to people in Vienna about their experiences, their thoughts, their worries, their fears. Everyday stories straight from the heart of Vienna.

As usual, spring brings its entire program to life in May. The days are getting longer, the flowers are blooming profusely, the people’s mood is noticeably improving, even in Vienna. May is also the month when the arena traditionally calls for the outdoor season. Almost as is traditional, the opening was canceled due to the weather – this time the German band Großstadtgefrischer was affected, although the rain did not dampen the mood. After a quiet weekend, local pop princes Bilderbuch performed two completely sold-out shows and caused cheers and enthusiasm among culture lovers. On these three evenings, the arena’s new sound system was put into use for the first time. The city has provided 600,000 euros to calm the few doomsayers from the three adjacent towers, who were constantly angry about the size last summer.

I can’t confirm that the new system concentrates the sound more prominently in the interior of the arena – after all, I was sitting in the middle of the Bilderbuch and not somewhere outside of it. In any case, the first stress tests in ‘competition mode’ do not seem to have caused any further problems and it remains to be hoped that everyone involved can coexist in peace from now on. It is still unclear whether this will remain the case in practice. In my circle of friends there are residents who are culture lovers. They report that those who ridiculed each other in 2023 are still grumbling now. Arena circles are still calibrating the sound to find the optimal setting after the first live runs. Only with the ‘learning by doing’ principle can a new technical performance be optimally optimized.

After repeated discussions during the event, picture book fans were happy with the new solution. “A cultural institution like the arena cannot be called into question because of something so small,” noted a “regular customer” of the venue (her self-description), “there are a few months in the year where you can party good concerts. That shouldn’t be a problem.” However, an industry expert noticed the changes in the sound. “I miss the pressure you know from arena concerts a bit now. Picture books sounded a bit muffled, especially on the page, but I hope that can be resolved.” Those responsible have been proving for almost a year now that they spare no effort to maintain the status quo and reassure the doubters on the outside.

France shows that things can be done differently. A business trip to see Taylor Swift recently took me to the La Defénse Arena in Nanterre, a suburb directly bordering Paris. The stadium is usually home to the traditional rugby team Racing 92, during the Olympic Games it will be transformed into a swimming pool and from 2025 it will host the Tennis Masters. Otherwise there are major concerts by Ed Sheeran, the Imagine Dragons and Swift, who each performed four times in front of 45,000 people. Due to gentrification, residential buildings border on almost all corners of the multifunctional location – not at a noticeable distance as in Vienna-Erdberg, but actually a stone’s throw away. This doesn’t bother anyone, because people are happy with the rich cultural and sporting offer. This would also be food for thought in Vienna for the few people who tend to confuse a big city with the rural periphery.

Source: Krone


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