DJ Alex Gutierrez/ SFDJA/ Miami
While many businesses are suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are many challenges that put small music venues in a particularly tough spot. As DJs we see no end in sight to all the venue closures. Many full time DJs have been forced to look for ” Real” jobs as many in the industry call work outside the music biz. We look around and see those establishments that have supported us, in serious trouble and there is nothing we can do to help. Reopening with a reduced capacity for many of these bars and clubs ( if and when that will be possible) just won’t cut it. The business model has always been ” Pack the House” Social distancing and nightclubs are about as compatible as dogs and cats Event venues and banquet halls have all shut down, some even closing their doors permanently. In an attempt to get creative, DJs have loaded their gear on pickup trucks in order to capitalize on the ” Drive By” party trend. Some ask for donations while playing music on Facebook Live only to be disconnected after 15 minutes because Music Companies have identified songs that belong to the them. The Service ” Mixcloud” has now created a ” Legal” platform for DJs to Livestream and slowly the DJ community adapts to the ” New Norm” in a business that thrived on sweaty bodies , packed side by side at concerts and clubs.
Most people in the industry I’ve spoken to seem to agree that a vaccine could be the only hope. “We open our doors, hire bands or DJs to bring people together for social interaction. If they don’t feel safe, they won’t come. If cases in our city spike , they blame bars.While we are shutdown to protect employees and customers , overhead costs such as rent and insurance will surely put us in debt and chances are we will not be able to open again. At least a vaccine would give a person a little more courage ” said one club owner I spoke to recently
The reality is most who frequented the clubs and bars before are ready to go out. House parties are thriving here in Miami., usually held earlier to avoid local curfews. Social Distancing ” Light” In the local Latin culture Handshakes and kisses on the cheek are still the norm for most. Hand Sanitizers are close by, next to the Mistolin and Fabuloso
They are out there, waiting to celebrate the end of the pandemic, and at that moment, those bars and clubs that survive deserve our support.