Club Roxy held a protest to ask the Czech government for funding in their ‘last chance to be seen’ before they face closure.
On Wednesday, September 30th, the dance music club bathed itself in red light to show solidarity with the #WeMakeEvents movement, a global day of action that has seen thousands of venues tell those in power that the live events sector urgently needs support to survive the Covid-19 crisis.
Roxy is asking for a grant payment that would cover rent, electricity and gas bills until they can reopen.
The peaceful protests attracted long-time Roxy supporters, resident DJ’s and concerned staff. Hana Makovcová, Roxy’s Head of PR, said that this is their ‘last stab in the dark’ to be noticed.
The clubbing scene has been hit hard by Covid restrictions, and Prague is no exception. Roxy says they have received no real support from the government, forcing them to close permanently in the next month if nothing changes.
Jaroslav Stanko, the manager of Roxy, said that joining this initiative was a way to raise awareness of their struggle. “Our government doesn’t really care for our industry. We received very little support from our government,” Stanko told Prague Morning. “A lot of creatives venus, like ours, fear for our future. It’s crucial we find a solution to this, now.”
Makovcová also argued that the industry contributes greatly to the Czech economy. “Everything we earn, we return in tax payments. We hope the government understands that without culture there is no bright future. It’s time for the electronic music scene to come together and support venues across the city.”
Club Roxy was first forced to close in March. Three months later they were allowed to reopen. However, they only put on one concert before they had to close again. As restrictions eased in September, Roxy excitedly planned nights with big-name artists such as Little Dragon, Joris Voorn and Adriatique. They’ve since had to postpone these events, and many others on their programme. Makovcova says they do not know when they will be able to host them again.
The club has managed to stay afloat during the pandemic because of their theatre and bar. Current restrictions state that you cannot have more than ten people indoors and you need to provide seating. This is easy to implement for pubs and restaurants but is clearly not viable for nightclubs.
The closure of Roxy would put scores of dedicated staff, many of whom have only ever worked in the event industry, out of work without any access to government support. It would also leave thousands of Roxy supporters saddened by the loss of a place that gave them lots of fond memories.
Andrej Brabel, who has been coming to the club for years and often DJs there, says being part of the scene has enhanced his life greatly: “Roxy is a club of cultural value. I fear that if it dies it would be replaced by something more generic. It would be a huge loss for the techno scene,” he told us at the protest. “I came here tonight because all I can do is try and make the government take notice.”