Many businesses are struggling during the pandemic, but live music venues and nightclubs are under particular strain. It’s not just that lockdowns make hosting shows unfeasible — it’s also that clubs and bars are likely to remain shuttered long after most shops and workplaces have reopened. Venues in Amsterdam, for example, will be kept closed until September 1 (and possibly longer) due to the contagion risk posed by crowds and confined spaces. When restrictions do finally lift, how many will have survived?
A fast-growing project created by nightlife advocates in Europe could provide one way to keep night businesses alive and working through the lockdown period, and the semi-lockdown that could linger long afterward. Called United We Stream, the combined live-streaming and fundraising platform hosts live music, DJ sets, performances and other live experiences from a growing roster of venues across Europe. Patrons are invited to drop into daily events staged for the platform, and invited via on-screen buttons to donate money if they can, either by buying merchandise or by splashing out on a “virtual drink.” These donations are plowed back into keeping music and nightlife scenes alive.