United We Stream: How Berlin's clubs are coming together to survive the corona crisis
It’s true, you can’t stop the music. At least that’s the impression given by a new partnership of club owners, promoters, dance music fans and the Franco-German ARTE channel.
United We Stream is their attempt to keep club culture alive during the coronavirus crisis. Fittingly, it first sprouted in Berlin, perhaps the world’s techno hub.
Following the closure of the capital's clubs in response to the pandemic in mid-March, Berlin’s Club Commission, and Reclaim Club Culture, an anti-racist organization, joined forces to create United We Stream, playing DJ sets from empty clubs such as Tresor, the KitKat Club and Suicide Circus to fans.
Industry legends such as Ellen Allien, DJ Hell and Ian Pooley were quick to lend their support, and over the last two months, the organisation has delivered a stream every night of the week.
After ARTE came on board, they were given the platform and resources to stream on a more regular basis. This has allowed them to raise funds to keep clubs open, as well as donating to the Foundation Fund for Civilian Sea Rescue, who assist asylum seekers in the Mediterranean.
A preview for an upcoming United We Stream event on Facebook. Photo: DPA
With the success of the initiative in Berlin, other German cities have come on board. Hamburg, Nuremberg, Munich and Stuttgart have all hosted a number of livestreams, and dance music capitals in other countries, such as Amsterdam and Vienna, have begun to host events.
Alongside the virtual ‘club nights’, sister initiatives such as ‘United We Talk’ have developed, giving room for debate and discussion over not only comes next for the club scene, but a wider raft of issues.
While there is no word yet as to when Berlin’s clubs will open, the organisers of United We Stream have developed a rolling program over the next few weeks, as well as putting into place a number of channels through which clubs can access the funds raised.
With decades of club culture defining the soul of the city, it would be hard for any natural or manmade catastrophe to wipe away Berlin's reputation as a cradle of dance music.
However, the efforts of United We Stream demonstrate the passion and determination of both Berliners, and Germans, to hold on to the arts, and in particular music, in times of adversity.