Associazione Piazza San Marco

Pink Floyd’s concert – a disaster for Saint Mark’s Square

On the evening of July 15, 1989, to mark the festival of Redentore, Pink Floyd, the well-known English rock band, performed a concert in Saint Mark’s basin, right in front of the Doges Palace. Their 24 m. high floating stage had been dragged along by a barge measuring 90 x 30 metres. Venice was overun by more than two hundred thousand people: a number which literally shocked the city and demonstrated its incapacity to host an event of such magnitude. Essential services such as security, toilet and first aid facilities plus many bars and public places closed because of the number of people and because the local police were not able to guarantee public safety. As a result, the city was covered in excrement and rubbish. The city calli and campielli (the Venetian name for typical streets and small squares) became open air toilets and Saint Mark’s Square itself, a huge rubbish dump. The day after the concert, there was a bitter debate about the use of the city for these kind of events which gave rise to a discussion about possible future ways of using the whole of the Saint Mark’s area. Here is a video showing the condition of Saint Mark’s after the concert: