British post-punk trio White Lies open the Pond Eclectic series of shows on Sunday 5 September
Den Atelier has teamed up with D’Coque for a programme of four late summer shows in the Kirchberg park amphitheatre.
Den Atelier is slowly getting back to business. The Hollerich venue had been closed since the first lockdown in March 2020, and although it put on a few drive-in shows and teamed up with other venues for one-offs, it now has put together an enticing programme for a series of gigs in early September.
The Pond Eclectic shows will take place at the Kirchberg park amphitheatre, next to the body of water that lends the series its name. Five acts have been lined-up for the show from 5 to 8 September, starting with UK post-punk trio White Lies and also including Swedish indie folk singer-songwriter José Gonzalez, French popsters L'Impératrice and German singer-songwriter Olli Schulz.
Watch White Lies’ ‘Tokyo’ from their last album Five.
Needless to say, den Atelier managing partner Michel Welter is delighted to be back in the game. “The team has been on furlough now for 13 months, and it has been a most disturbing year for them. Being at home and doing nothing is not in our DNA, so it’s a real breath of fresh air. We weren’t whining, not at all, but we are just so happy that we can work again.”
The line-up, Welter says, was chosen to suit the unusual venue and possible constraints that will still be in place in September.
“We wanted to have good quality music, and didn’t select artists because of any particular genre,” Welter explains. “The first given is that it’s a summer show. Secondly, there’s going to be some distancing and seating involved…it doesn’t make sense to have a seated metal show or electro party, for instance.”
Obviously in the continued uncertainty of the pandemic and the travel restrictions that may involve, booking big American acts is impossible at the moment. But Welter says that most European artists were not earning anything at all and were more than willing to talk. “It’s always a constraint to book for a specific week, because it’s a one-off for the artist and not part of a tour, so it is a bit more expensive,” he says. “But we invested in a venue that is very cool, a bit more high end, and so we booked artists in accordance.”
Den Atelier has teamed up with D’Coque and worked with the Fonds de Kirchberg, which manages the park. “D’Coque really helped with the logistics,” says Welter. He first saw the venue used for the circus school’s tent one summer, and loves the location, with the tram stopping just a couple of hundred metres away on avenue JF Kennedy. He had even considered it as an alternative location for den Atelier’s Siren’s Call festival. But the lack of a suitable nearby indoor venue prevented that from happening.
Capacity at the Pond Electric shows will be 300, with the audience able to sit in groups of four. Catering will also be available, meeting ministry of health guidelines at the time of the concerts. “We, the organisers and punters, need to be flexible regarding the sanitary measures. Maybe they will be more restrictive come September. On the other hand, maybe we’ll be able to dance around naked,” he jokes.
Whether this is the glimmer of hope at the end of what has been a very long tunnel remains to be seen, but Welter is optimistic. “The Atelier is still closed, which is painful to see every day, but step by step we’ll get there. I can’t wait to put on a sweaty, drunken show at the Atelier. I can die happy after that.