Kiev venue Closer is at risk of being shut down by local authorities.
The trouble began with a series of police raids in 2015, during which the local Department For Drug Trafficking allegedly found small amounts of marijuana and amphetamines for personal use. A trial soon followed, with the court deciding that Closer should be deemed a priton—a place that houses drug trafficking and dealing. There was, however, a major problem with the trial: Closer was not represented. The club's management has since appealed the decision, and is garnering support from the arts community in Kiev.
According to a statement sent out by Closer this week, there's more to the story than authorities will admit. Police corruption is at the root of the problem, the club says, and Closer has drawn the ire of the authorities by refusing to pay bribes. "'Never pay bribes to corrupted authorities' is our rule," the statement reads. "We do not want to support and encourage Soviet models of authority and believe that it is possible to go another way. That's why the department decided to teach us and those who watch: 'Look what can happen if you do not pay.'"
Closer is among Eastern Europe's best-known spots for house and techno. It plays host to a variety of international DJs on a monthly basis, particularly those pushing more subtle dance floor sounds (Binh, Vera, DJ Masda, Zip, Daniel Bell, Rhadoo and Jane Fitz are some of their regular headliners). The coming months will see selectors like DJ Qu, DJ Stingray and Margaret Dygas touch down for slots. It also hosts lectures, talks, film screenings, art exhibitions and concerts.
Read an excerpt from Closer's statement below:
Closer never broke the law, we never spread or sell drugs. Furthermore, we fight dealers much better than the Department. Today we really, really need to spread the word. To show to the leaders of the state that killing Closer means much more than closing a club. It means bringing down an important piece of music culture in Ukraine and losing something precious, something that Ukraine could be proud of.Watch a video of a protest in support of Closer below. A Facebook page has also been set up.