In November and December of 2016, we – a group of anarchist street musicians – played concerts in front of prisons in Switzerland and Germany. We wanted to let at least some prisoners feel that they’re not forgotten. We wanted to bring down the isolation for some moments and send our messages beyond those barbed fire fences and iron bars.
After all, we played 15 shows in front of 14 different prisons accompanied by benefit gigs at various places. The reactions we got from inside were – if existing at all – quite different. Sometimes, our songs were immediately answered with cheers and e.g. antifa chants while at 9 shows, we didn’t receive any direct response from the other side so we couldn’t be sure if people could hear us.
But for two of these concerts, we later heard about reports from prisoners who were actually able to hear us, the acoustic of the prisons just didn’t allow reactions to find their way to the outside (one of them described the reaction from the inside as a “little uprising” as the majority of the prisoners were shouting, making noises with bars etc, leaving the wardens pretty unsettled).
Always when we noticed or heard about any of these reactions, this left us quite touched and gave us some sort of confidence that what we were doing was something important and made perfect sense. It is something that can mean a lot to people and that takes only a low amount of effort. We hope this idea will spread as a form of solidarity and inspire more people to fill prisons with live music (or other noisy things) in the future – not only on New Year’s Eve.
At this point, we also want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone that supported us along the way. To the people that borrowed us equipment, that set up sound systems, that let us sleep on their couches, that organized benefit gigs, that gave us money, that came to the prison concerts, that broadcasted one of our shows live on the radio letting prisoners know about it in advance (how cool is that?!), that mobilized to the prison concerts in their hometown, that dealt with cops when it became necessary, that cooked for us, that helped us printing zines and mobilization material and of course a really, really big thank you to the person whose truck we could use for five weeks. You are awesome, all of you!
Freedom for all prisoners!
Fire to all prisons!
contact: prisontour [ät] riseup [dot] net (this won’t have been the last prison tour, that’s for sure :))