First off, I want to give a big shout out and cyber hug to all the DJs, sound engineers, musicians, promoters, event vendors, and other entertainment professionals who are trying to make the most of this brutal situation for our industry. As we enter into the final month of summer with September nipping at our heels, I honestly never thought we would still be in this holding pattern and unfortunate state of affairs. I’m sure these sentiments are echoed from a lot of people who have spent the last few years working hard at their crafts and businesses.
I mean, I thought I was pessimistic when I predicted a late summer / labour day opening for my home venue. Now, I’m not sure about that anymore with every event scheduled for this year being either cancelled or pushed back to mid/late 2021.
Unfortunately, British Columbia, once a shining light in the pandemic response, has shown that we are no match for its contagion and the push back on limitations put on us from the health authority. Apparently, about two months of lockdown is about all a majority of humans can handle before the cracks start to show. It seems to be a recurring theme from Vancouver to Virginia to Venice. We are social creatures and when the negative consequences of limited interaction start taking their toll, my guess is that people start weighing the risks and decide to take their chances. Honestly, I’m not judging. Everybody is having their own unique experience with this thing and who am I to think I’ve walked a mile in your shoes. I get it.
The 20-40 demographic seems to be now approaching the pandemic the same way around the world. It seems that nightclubs and restaurants, while having risks of their own, are not the source of the recent uptick in infections. Private parties from apartments to mansions, and from beaches to fields are proving to be an even riskier option, no doubt due to the lack of mandated industry safety measures, security and contact tracing that is now built into the nightclub scene. At least here in Vancouver.
Daily numbers from the past couple months in BC
July 2nd 9 cases
August 21st 115 cases
August 26th 56 cases
The increase in total cases that peaked in mid-August caused further restrictions from health officials and dashed the plans some venues had for opening later in August and early September. That being said, we still doing vastly better than other parts of the country, such as Quebec and Ontario, and other parts of the world like the US, Mexico and Brazil.
Washington State 75,753
The recent uptick in cases resulted in a few of the city’s larger venues closing after being open just a few weeks. Many of the mid-sized venues (200-1000) have yet to open since mid-March and have been opting for doing live stream events, like those broadcasted by the Commodore Ballroom, Fortune Sound and the Roxy Cabaret (check your local listings). Some of the smaller clubs are still keeping the lights on with reserved seating on weekends for groups of 6 or less.
The lack of venues and limited capacity is resulting in a lot of renegade parties sprouting up across the city, at the beaches and sometimes right in front of some of the closed bars in the Granville Entertainment District.
It’s getting a bit weird out there, people.
However you slice it, it looks like things will not be getting back to normal anytime soon. Although, there is still hope that if we have seen the peak of this wave, and the percentage positive rate continues to be low (currently around 1.5%), then things might improve for the nightlife scene. Unfortunately, from some of the people I’ve talked to, it might not be enough to keep them from fleeing the industry.
Jamie ‘JT James’ Thirsk is a DJ, producer and writer based out of Vancouver, Canada. A veteran of the DJ and recording worlds. he has produced several projects in the genres of hip hop and electronic music under various aliases such as James Divine, Track Nicholson and Sandy Villanova. When he’s not on the decks, in the studio or staring into a blank word document you can catch him at the beach, hiking through the forest or telling people how much yoga can change their life. Look out for his latest project Wulvun and their debut single ‘Far Away’ streaming now on all major platforms.