The Day the Music Died: Inside COVID’s Devastating Effect on Live Music. Part I: Club Culture

One central facet of the pandemic still dominating lives all over the planet is the collapse of numerous industries once taken for granted. Live music is no exception. From the first lockdown, all forms of live music completely vanished. Its return to a recognizable form is occurring only gradually. 

This is the opening installment – focusing on club culture – of a three-part series that examines COVID’s impact on live music in the Czech Republic. The second part will focus on smaller, indoor concerts, while the final piece of this series will examine festivals.

Prague Morning recently caught up with local DJs/producers DJ Tuco (Radio 1’s The Work Out, Footclan, Meanbucket), Z-Kat (Masquerave) and Eva Porating (Ankali) to discuss, among other things, the possibility of a longstanding culture permanently altered, the prevalence of outdoor events, and what the clubgoer could possibly expect both now and in the near future.

Did you think electronic and/or club music could be permanently altered by a pandemic that forced people to stay home?

DJ Tuco: No, I don’t think so. People will forget about it [the pandemic] fairly quick.

Z-Kat: Not in the grand scheme of things unless the clubs remain closed for a very long time.

Eva Porating: Not totally altered, but somehow marked for sure.

Was there ever a point when COVID hit that made you wonder if club culture might be changed forever or would not function the same as it did during the pre-COVID era?

DJ Tuco: I think a lot of people were hoping for a big change with more focus on local talent allowing underground artists to break through. That didn’t happen.

Z-Kat: The thought crossed my mind. Certain aspects of club culture are definitely going to be different for a while.

Eva Porating: During the second lockdown playing gigs seemed pretty surreal to me. I was definitely wondering if we would ever return to a more traditional setting.

Are smaller outdoor events more prevalent now?

DJ Tuco: They definitely are in Prague, and that’s one of the great things about this city. It’s relatively easy to do stuff like that compared to the UK for example.

Z-Kat: At the moment, sure.

Eva Porating: Yes. But that will change very quickly.

In your opinion how do you think club culture will function in the immediate aftermath with the current COVID restrictions loosened? Second, how do you envision the club scene a year from now?

DJ Tuco: First, things will likely come down to COVID certificates, tests for DJs and the audience. The next part of the question is much harder to predict.

Z-Kat: In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic promoters might be more cautious and conservative with whom they book. Booking artists from abroad also poses more of a logistical challenge. A year from now the club scene will likely be local names without many headliners to write home about.

Eva Porating: I honestly wish we could all gain a greater sense of community. In a year’s time, I hope the scene will be more colorful musically, more open-minded, supportive and proactive in the things that matter.


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