This article discusses local cultural policies addressing popular music, and the values they imply, through a case study of Strasbourg's Espace Django, a publicly financed concert venue located in a disadvantaged neighborhood.
Espace Django's structural organization and overall cultural “philosophy” are described on the basis of field interviews and several documents related to the venue; they are then discussed in relation to literature on urban cultural policies and French policies concerning popular music.
Espace Django's activities embody a will to improve social interactions within local communities. The venue does not fit in either the “music city” or the “creative cluster” theoretical model. However, its policies belong to the French institutional tradition of Développement Culturel, and they express a tendency toward eventification and the experience economy.
In France, the public sector plays an important role in cultural practices, mostly through funding and policymaking. The example of Espace Django adds a distinct French perspective to a research field mainly centered on Anglo-Saxon countries and more liberal economies. Also, the appendix on Espace Django's response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis adds interesting elements for understanding what are the successful choices in the current cultural scenario.
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