Roxy nightclub faces up to future without dance parties

29-04-2005

For the past decade, the award-winning Roxy nightclub in the centre of Prague has established itself as the main venue for alternative dance parties, which have become a major cultural phenomenon here since the 1990s. The club is considered by some to be one of the best in Europe and it has attracted many internationally renowned dance acts and DJs such as The Shamen and Asian Dub Foundation. This weekend, however, Prague partygoers will dance the night way in the Roxy for the last time. This is because the city authorities have bowed to complaints about noise levels and ordered the club to stop playing music after 10.00 p.m.

Although some have expressed horror at the idea that Prague will be losing one of its top dance venues, Jan Mayer, the head of the Linhart Foundation, which runs the Roxy, says that although it will no longer be a late-night club, it will continue to exist as an alternative arts centre.

"We're not closing down, we just have eliminate the [dance] party segment of our activity and replace it with other elements of our programme."

Mayer hopes that the Roxy will remain a vibrant cultural hub by focusing on other projects such as art exhibitions, underground cinema viewings and concerts, as well as multi-media events.

"I hope it will be interesting for the Prague scene, and that people will be able to find a good place for parties somewhere else."

Mayer is determined to remain positive about the closure of the nightclub. He intends to turn it into a leading alternative arts venue operating in the spirit of the underground dance parties that made it so famous.

"What we did here in the Roxy - not just me but our promoters and the people taking care of dance parties - is that we developed a really unique club in the centre of Prague, which was very successful, especially in the last four years when we won all sorts of awards as a top club. So maybe now is a good time to finish. Philosophically we don't have a problem opening it to some new changes. We're beginning to adopt an open attitude to other promoters and projects. Hopefully, we'll survive"

And what about the club-goers themselves? Radio Prague went to one of the last ever dance nights at the Roxy, and asked them what they thought about the fact that the party was coming to an end.

"I think everything will just go underground. A whole load of underground clubs will open up instead."

"Roxy's a Prague institution. They always put on a lot of amazing stuff here. The city wouldn't be the same without it. It caters for niche audience that don't normally get to see the quality of international-level DJs here."

"I think it will have a big impact. I'm in favour of alternative culture and the Roxy is a nice centre for it. I would support its staying open. I see it as a very important part of culture. It's a specific kind of culture, which I think is needed for young people."

29-04-2005