Thousands protest in support of “Zöld Pardon” (ZP), a popular entertainment venue in Budapest
Thursday, 22 September 2011 15:22
Notable Hungarian pop musicians protested by means of holding concerts to save the popular Budapest based entertainment venue, “Zöld Pardon” (literally: “Green Pardon”) that faces closure on 1 November. The party – that was held on the Műegyetem Quay – attracted thousands of people who wanted to express their concern and thus exert pressure on the leaders of the Újbuda (New Buda) local government where this club is located. “I believe this demonstration that has attracted thousands of participants will not be futile, and I also trust in the responsible way of thinking on the part of decision makers” – told Zsuzsanna Kővári, Zöld Pardon’s CEO an in interview with the Hungarian daily Népszava. “It’s obvious to me that ZP is a political case, and the reasons for closure mentioned by the 11th district local government are biased and lack any basis. ZP could not occupy a better location in the district other than the Buda end of the Petőfi Bridge, given that tramways No. 4 and 6 run day and night here, that’s why visitors have to walk only a few hundred meters; what’s more, there are almost only universities and colleges around ZP, and even the closest apartment house is about 300 meters away. It’s remarkable that no complaints have ever been made about Zöld Pardon by the people living in the vicinity” – noted Ms. Kővári, when asked about the reasons of the Újbuda local government for closing the local. “We do not contest the fact that the local government possesses several documents that show discontent by hundreds of inhabitants in the district; however, it does not make any sense that these people have never contacted us with their complaints, so that local authorities have never initiated an administrative procedure against ZP” – the CEO added.
Several famous Hungarian bands also participated in the demonstration: Quimby, Kiscsillag, Magna Cum Laude, Csík Zenekar, 30Y, Bikini, Vad Fruttik, Pál Utcai Fiúk and Ganxsta Zolee és a Kartell also performed on Műegyetem Quay, while Péter Novák acted as MC to the show. The protest was also visited by former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány.
And although Zöld Pardon became popular mainly because of daily live concerts, it hosted many other cultural events as well, including programs held on the International Children’s Day, the Teenage Festival, or the Polish–Hungarian Kultúrstaféta (Cultural Relay Race) this year. This way ZP became a significant part of Budapest’s cultural life over the past few years. At the same time, the local strived to appease the 11th district and its populace: employees of Zöld Pardon cleaned up the streets at regular intervals every night, and also public parks during the daytime. They even measured sound levels in the neighbourhood on a regular basis, operated a system of surveillance cameras, and they also patrolled the public park stretching near Zöld Pardon as well as the neighbouring streets as a means of effective crime prevention.
However, Mr Tamás Hoffman, mayor of Újbuda did not wish to extend Zöld Pardon’s license for the use of public ground – citing public complaints originating from several districts as the reason for doing so, after the company operating ZP had submitted its request for a renewes license in August. The issue will finally be decided by the Újbuda town meeting this Thursday – given the present state of affairs, Zöld Pardon may only operate until 31 October.