Is Rotterdam’s live music scene dying?

Despite its reputation as a vibrant and multicultural modern city and the Eldorado of innovation and architecture, Rotterdam’s night life is said to have lost much of its charm compared to the past decades. Rotterdam’s live music scene is often regarded as a scene that has suffered greatly from financial drawbacks and social change and that struggles to live up to its standards of the early days.

And indeed, a peek into the Cultural Plan published by Rotterdam’s Council of Art and Cultural reveals a cut down of financial subsidies for the city’s cultural sector of merely 25 % only between the periods of 2009-2012 and 2013-2016. As a reaction to this, so resident and musician Bryan van Putten, many venues had to close, whilst others turned their focus more on booking ‘safe acts’ rather than risky ones to promote experimental or local artists.

However, the wide spectrum of smaller venues representing many diverse musical genres give the impression that the flame of Rotterdam’s live music scene is still blazing. Marguerite Melchers, manager of music venues Dizzy and Rotown, is certain that “the scene is alive, and just needs to be explored”, furthermore stressing that whoever was willing to take the effort to discover Rotterdam’s night live could “find a big pearl in this shell”.

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