While independent business owners and entrepreneurs took to the main square of Zagreb in protest at the perceived inequality in Coronavirus measures and their enforcement, 160 kilometres away on the Kvarner coast, the ban on operations for catering and entertainment venues was forcing a very hard decision.
Beloved Rijeka club Crkva today announced its permanent closure. The news will be taken with great sadness by not only the young people of Rijeka and the students who live there for university but to clubbers across Croatia and the many visitors who have passed through its doors. Within the nightlife offer of the vibrant city of Rijeka, Club Crkva was unique.
“Thank you for every dance, smile and happiness, thank you for every arrival and every morning we welcomed together. Thank you to all the artists who have performed here, thank you to those who have not, and yet they have filled our sacred chambers with their sound.” wrote club Crkva’s Sasa Jovanovic in a clearly emotional Facebook post this afternoon.
Club Crkva was Rijeka’s only dependable weekly club offering late-night electronic and underground dance music. Every major city in the world has at least one place like club Crkva, which puts it on the international music map. Now, Rijeka has none.
The club gave countless opportunities to young Croatian DJs and promoters, never dictating a style on the enthusiasm and ideas of the up-and-coming clubbing generations. It hosted house and techno, drum n’ bass, breaks and any other style you might find in a big city’s underground music club. After the closure of the irregular Hartera happenings, club Crkva was the only nightclub in Rijeka to regularly be visited by internationally-renowned DJs. It also played host to all of the biggest names of regional talent.
Club Crkva proudly and actively supported arts and culture programmes born in the local community, many of whom were simply independents who had a great idea they were passionate about. The club was due to host several key happenings in the Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020 year until the pandemic put pay to much of the programme. Many will also remember club Crkva as a committed supporter of the city’s gay and minority communities. It regularly opened its doors to members of the region’s gay, lesbian and feminist movements who asked to throw parties there.
“Thanks to our stewards, all the staff and friends. We created beautiful memories and wrote a history of world-class Rijeka and regional clubbing, “ Mr Jovanovic continued. “What I regret the most is that we will not say goodbye at one last big party.”
“One thing is for sure, if this pandemic is a difficult path to a better, more honest and more advanced society, then let this Church of ours be sacrificed for it and let all the energy we have produced here for years be used for that purpose.”
All internal images © Club Crkva