01/2024: LOFT again awarded with the NRW venue program prize

On Tuesday, the 23rd of January 2024, the NRW Venue Program Award from the NRW Ministry of Culture and Science and the NRW State Music Council was presented for the 15th time. this time at the Jazzclub Henkelmann in Iserlohn.
The award recognizes smaller venues for live music with a regular programme and is aimed specifically at those that offer a forum for up-and-coming artists and regional bands.

We are delighted to have received the award for the 15th time (in a row) and would like to congratulate all award winners – 16 in total.

The LOFT is not alone in recognising the venue program award to be an unusual but very effective model in the context of various other funding schemes, because right from the start, care was taken to make the application process low-threshold and the subsequent use as unbureaucratic as possible. As one of the few “cultural awards” in Germany, the use of the prize money does not have to be documented, so the venue program award also provides unbureaucratic freedom. Once again this year, the recording project offered by the LOFT and the 2ndFLOOR e.V. will be financed with funds from the award, while the rest will go towards supporting the program.

Excerpts from:

Spielstättenprogrammprämien des Landes im Henkelmann, Iserlohn

by: Robert von Zahn / Landesmusikrat NRW
(to the complete announcement of the Landesmusikrat – German only)


For the 15th time, the Landesmusikrat NRW and the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia have awarded small and medium-sized stages in the independent music scene for their special commitment and their ambitious and dedicated live program with the venue program award.
Christine Siegert, President of the Landesmusikrat NRW, confirmed that the Ministry of Culture and the umbrella organization had smaller venues in rural areas in mind when they introduced the awards 15 years ago: “Venues like this one, where we are located, offer an important cultural infrastructure in North Rhine-Westphalia, and the least we can do on the part of the Landesmusikrat, the umbrella organization of the music associations in North Rhine-Westphalia, is to express our appreciation for the important work of the award-winning venues with an award like this,” said Christine Siegert.
As a representative of the Ministry of Culture, Thomas Baerens, Head of the Music Department, recalled how 15 years ago a group sat together in the State Music Council and looked at the economic situation of venues. Funding models were considered and found to be too bureaucratic. The result was the venue program premium, which can be spent without a specified purpose and does not have to be documented. Baerens sees this as an appreciation on the part of the state government: “Clubs and venues support artists with their work. We, in turn, are happy to support this.”
Baerens also explained the Ministry of Culture’s new goal: “In future, we want to ensure that musicians have a reasonable income. It makes no sense to train musicians at great expense and push them into social welfare systems when they get old. That is why we are introducing minimum fees for state-funded events.” However, the focus should also remain on the venues. “We greatly appreciate the work of the venues in NRW, because without them, NRW would be a much poorer state.”
In 2024, the Loch (Wuppertal) will receive a prize of 16,000 €, 13,000 € each will go to Klangbrücke (Aachen) and LOFT (Cologne). The artheater (Cologne), domicil (Dortmund), Goldkante (Bochum), Jazz Club Minden, Jazzclub Henkelmann (Iserlohn), Jazz-Schmiede (Düsseldorf) and zakk (Düsseldorf) will each receive 9,000 €. 5,000 € each will go to Atelier 21 – Produzentengalerie für globale Kunst (Aachen), Black Box (Münster), Bunker Ulmenwall e.V. (Bielefeld), In Situ Art Society (Bonn), Jazz Initiative Dinslaken e.V. and KIT-Café (Düsseldorf).
Project manager Eva Luise Roth (Landesmusikrat NRW) moderated the event, which was funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science. The venue program awards are presented jointly by the Ministry and the State Music Council. The expert jury consisted of Christina Lux (musician), Ulla Oster (musician), Tim Isfort (moers festival) and Thomas Baerens.