Masks, distance and dancing: Clubs reopen for the day in the German capital

AFP - [email protected]
Masks, distance and dancing: Clubs reopen for the day in the German capital
Illustration photo: A summer night in a bar called "Club der Visionaere" in Berlin, July, 2013. Some of Berlin's most legendary clubs will reopen on October 3, 2020 for a one-off event. JOHANNES EISE

Some of Berlin's most legendary clubs will reopen on Saturday after more than six months, for a one-off event to highlight the pandemic-hit sector's fight for survival.


The "Day of Club Culture" open-house event is being organised by local authorities and Berlin's Club Commission nightlife organisation, with each of the around 40 participating venues receiving a 10,000 euro grant ($11,700).   

Among those taking part are some of the German capital's best known party temples, including About Blank, Club Der Visionaere, Sisyphos, Tresor, Schwuz and the Kitkatclub.

For the first time since the coronavirus shut them down more than six months ago, they will be allowed to pump out the music again as they host a range of mainly outdoor events in compliance with Covid-19 precaution measures like social distancing and mask wearing.


The events, ranging from concerts and dancing to debates and exhibitions, are set to start around midday and end by 1:00 am (2300 GMT) at the latest.

The day was chosen to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Germany's reunification following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"For many people in the cultural scene, it's not just about preservation, but also about making the gravity of the situation and the value of culture understood," DJ Laura Rochlitzer, who will be spinning tracks at club Anomaly, told AFP.

"We are a part of Berlin and we have a big influence on urban life and tourism," she added.

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Klaus Lederer, Berlin's culture senator, told a news conference that clubs were more than a PR attraction for the city of Berlin. They are also "safe spaces" that are welcoming to minority groups and encourage diversity.

Fears of the virus spreading among tightly packed crowds in enclosed spaces forced clubs to be among the first to close at the start of the pandemic, and they will likely be among the last venues allowed to reopen, he said.

As part of a massive coronavirus rescue package to cushion the economic impact from the pandemic, the German government has unlocked over a billion euros in aid for the country's cultural industries, including 150 million euros for private music venues and nightclubs.

"We need the clubs," federal culture minister Monika Gruetters has said.

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