While partying in the middle of a pandemic might seem as logical a Matt Damon stopping for a pint part-way through Contagion, with numbers of cases dropping, government restrictions easing, and ravers getting restless, nightlife is making a slow and steady comeback. In a COVID world, where the safest idea is to stay 6-feet away from anyone and everyone and avoid going out as much as possible, clubbing, music festivals, and raves may seem outright impossible. However, as we adjust to this ”new normal”, nightlife mavens are adapting and getting downright creative in their ways of bringing people together for a good time.
Back in May, German nightclub Coconut Beach with promoter TakaTuka held what may have possibly been Europe’s first post-pandemic event. Gerd Janson, Steve Stix, Kai Lorenzen, and Thorsten Karger played for an audience of 100 in the 2000-capacity outdoor venue. Ticket prices were slightly higher than normal to account for profit-loss in the past months and the inability to fill the venue. Each partygoer was assigned a table and designated a chalk-outlined dancefloor circle. Masks were mandatory everywhere except for your assigned spots. Plexiglass partitions protected the bar staff and hygienic measures were ramped up. Although the small crowd and minimal payout weren’t quite what Gerd Janson was used to, he told Resident Advisor that he felt he needed to do his part to help the owner, venue, and staff. Coconut Beach has since held a second event with ÂME on June 6th and has an upcoming event on September 6th with Adana Twins, this time with a 200-person capacity and reduced ticket price.
In a less precautious and more illegal way, UK ravers are taking having a good time back into their own hands. Illegal raves across the UK have been making headlines all summer, but this past bank holiday proved some Brits are rearing for a rave, regardless of restrictions. Currently, in the UK and Wales, gatherings of up to 30 people are the limit. This past weekend, police were called to dozens of illegal raves, including one of 3000 plus people. Fines of up to £10,000 were given to organizers in Leeds, London, Norfolk, Banwen, and West Yorkshire and thousands of dollars of equipment were seized. Berlin, the city with partying in its blood, is also playing host to a number of these illegal raves.
As governments ease restrictions and more venues open their doors, we’ve seen more of a negative impact than anything. Back in May, when South Korea reopened nightclubs, they saw quite the spike in cases, after so diligently getting their numbers down. More recently, after the reopening of an infamous strip club in Toronto, Canada, with a look but don’t touch motto, a mini-outbreak occurred, affecting several staff and patrons. Rarely a day goes by where a video of nightlife fanatics breaking protocol doesn’t surface. Australian nightclubs in parts of the country have seen huge lineups and packed dancefloors since reopening and are now dealing with the repercussions.
Last week in France, the Prime Minister eased social distancing regulations allowing for gatherings of up to 5000 people to take place, however, wearing masks is still mandatory. Large-scale events are still a no, but a 5000-person, socially distanced event will call for a lot of floorspace.
Earlier in the summer, headlines blasted that Ibiza would be shuttered for the season, but we added that claim to the list of fake news surrounding the virus. While not all Ibiza hot spots are open, any open-air venue with seated areas for people to reserve and listen to Balearic beats at are a go. Just remember to maintain your distance from others while in the pool and wear your mask when you are anywhere but your table.
Festival season isn’t a complete write-off either. While a majority of this summer’s big festivals were rescheduled to next year, some just postponed to a later date. Capacity has been limited and strict hygienic measures have been put in place, but across Europe, dozens of festivals are still scheduled to run, giving festivalgoers something to look forward to.
In an attempt to help out the nightlife industry, Morgan Deane and a team of industry leaders have put together The COVID Nightlife Guide, a comprehensive guide created for clubs, bars, and music venues to help them navigate reopening. Titled “A Light In the Night”, the guide, complete with illustrations, aims to help small-scale venues adjust to the new way of operating with tips and tricks on how to reopen safely and effectively.
The guide was created to inspire a global conversation about the importance of local, small-scale nightlife venues and keep them alive. From preparing the space to onboarding the staff, navigating artist relations, and ensuring guest experience is still as enjoyable as ever, the guide is clear, concise, and unbelievably helpful. With all the government regulations and uncertainty in the nightlife industry, Deane and her team reinforce the idea that we’re all in this together.