The “First Ones to Close and Last Ones to Re-Open”: Music Venues, COVID-19 and the Handling of the Crisis

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


During the initial phase of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, music venues and clubs were the first to close—and often the last to re-open. Based on knowledge about music venues and club culture from the pre-COVID-19 era and data collected among club owners, clubbers, venue associations and cultural policy in Germany, this article encompasses a variety of perspectives regarding the situation of live music venues and clubs during the pandemic. Firstly, it analyses, from a German perspective, the club-related developments of the COVID-19 crisis from the first lockdown in March 2020 to the spring of 2021. Secondly, it considers the effect of “loss” among audiences and, thirdly, the discourse about cultural policy and emergency funds for music clubs and live music culture in Germany.

Zeitschrift Journal of World Popular Music
Seiten (von - bis)170-196
Anzahl der Seiten27
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 22.06.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
Many of the empirical outcomes of this project are based on data gathered during a student research seminar at Leuphana University in winter 2020/21. In “Club Culture and Corona”, a sociology-oriented curricular subject in the field of cultural organization, around 25 students conducted research on the impact of COVID-19 on music venues and club cultures. In five related sub-projects, data was gathered on the financial situation of club actors, the loss of safe spaces for marginalized scenes, the experiences during the crisis by venue operators and club-goers as well as the relationship of music venues and the city during the pandemic. All sub-projects were supervised by the first author of this contribution and accompanied by ethnographic fieldwork within the context of the seminar and beyond.

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