Since 1991, people have enjoyed cultural events in «Kultur in der Futterfabrik», or KIFF for short. However, the venue in Aarau, Switzerland, has seen its best years and doesn't meet the rising standards of a modern event space anymore. Or as the association puts it: «The spaces are too small, insulation and ventilation are poor, and the infamous stairs too steep... Renovation is simply not an option, and the lease is expiring.»
An Ambitious New Space
The proposed solution is to tear down the old factory building and create a new space. According to the website, the new venue should become a «versatile home for pop culture» with a large hall for concerts, a club, a restaurant, an exhibition stage, rehearsal rooms, and a new home for the local indie radio station Kanal K.
On November 27, 2022, the people of Aarau voted with 75.7% to support the new project financially. With around 27.6 million Swiss Francs already raised to support the project, KiFF started a crowdfunding campaign to raise additional funds. The goal is 500'000 Swiss Francs.
Under the motto «KiFF me baby one more time», crowdfunding is now entering its final stage with only nine days left. As of publishing, around 376'000 Swiss Francs have been collected.
Not A First in Switzerland
The ambitious plans and crowdfunding are not new for Switzerland's cultural venues. In 2020, the traditional concert and club venue Albani was raising money to buy the building where they were located. They raised over 500'000 Swiss Francs and saved the long-term existence of a cultural institution that had existed since 1988.
Also in 2023, Neubad in Lucerne, located in an old swimming pool building, crowdfunded the installation of solar panels on the roof. They raised 23'865 Swiss Francs, exceeding the goal.
Although crowdfunding always remains risky and time-consuming, it has benefits. Especially in more extensive operations like the projects of KiFF or Albani, the uncertain dependence on private landlords vanishes. But most importantly, successful crowdfunding campaigns further legitimise the existence of cultural spaces.