On approaching Conne Island club in Leipzig’s district Connewitz in the evening, heavy basses, laughter and excited shouts will reach your ears, making the old building tremble. The culture centre in the south of the town is a platform for the young and wild since the nineties, offering more than music and dancing.
No one would come up with the idea that this club is actually build on a political fundament. During their weekly meetings the club’s plenum has defined Conne Island as a “centre made by and for leftists, youth-, pop-, and subcultures.”
Since 1991 the youth and cultural centre has allowed access to a stage and technical equipment, a rehearsal room for bands, an outdoor skatepark, team sport facilities, and runs a café. By now, the centre enjoys the sponsorship of the association “Projekt Verein e.V.”, which supports Conne Island in bureaucratic and administrative issues.
Conne Island acts upon the principle of participation: adolescents and adults alike do social work and in turn may contribute, discuss and decide during Monday’s plenum sessions.
The club is run mostly by honorary workers whose aim is to keep Conne Island a platform for political and cultural discourse, giving a voice to adolescents with a political interest. Conne Island aims to include politics in culture and succeeds in doing so by directing attention towards the use of Nazi symbols by bands and bashing it, by discussing sexist and homophobic tendencies in lyrics, and choosing bands for club concerts carefully.
Celebrating the club’s 20th anniversary in 2011, Conne Island members published a book titled “20 YRS – noch lange nicht Geschichte”. It reflects upon Conne Island’s development since its foundation, calling the club “a political centre where you may criticise society, discuss left-wing orientation and argue about the possibilities of political culture.” Simultaneously, the club is a place to chat, hang out and dance. There are “no boundaries for musical genres: Hardcore, Punk and Metal concerts are equally important as Hip-Hop, Techno and Dubstep.”
Perfectly fulfilling the aim of Conne Island to attract as many different individuals and subcultures as possible is British Reggae-Metal band Skindred. In February 2014 they shook the club’s hall, enthusing a coloured crowd of fans. Skindred are known for their critical approach to society, condemning violence and street fights, gangs and police abuse, but also for their optimistic, lively view of unity and their emphasis on mutual love and respect as the solution of most problems.
The crowd roared their approval without exception: the tattoed girl, the man dressed entirely in black, the plainly clothed middle aged woman and the colourful youngster clapped in unison. Conne Island had once more succeeded in uniting and entertaining a broad spectrum of people.
Visit Conne Island’s website for the latest news and don’t miss the next concert: http://www.conne-island.de/