Berlin - The city's club scene is hoping to survive the second pandemic summer by throwing parties outdoors. "It doesn't help economically, but we want to give people something," said Pamela Schobeß, chair of the Berlin Clubcommission, on Thursday. "We're in a good position to implement hygiene concepts in outdoor areas."

The Clubcommission, an association of many of the city's more than 300 clubs, feels outdoor events will not only help improve the quality of pandemic life, the events would also be much safer than private meetings indoors.

Berlin's clubs are a vital economic engine. Pre-corona, they attracted around 3m tourists a year to the city, spending about €1.5bn on transport, hotels and restaurants. The club scene itself had annual sales of more than €168m and employed 9,000. About 20,000 artists connected to the scene have also been hit by the pandemic.

Schobeß, who is also the owner of Gretchen in Kreuzberg, said the club's corona-related closure has lasted 13 months and been an "unbelievably emotional" and a "financial catastrophe". Aid arrived late and was insufficient. Clubs that had previously operated without subsidies are, "for the first time, completely dependent on the state".

Hope, alternatives, life

Klaus Lederer, the city's culture minister, said it's "important to get this industry through the pandemic." The public sector should assume responsibility, he said. A blanket ban on open air events, as included in Chancellor Angela Merkel's planned changes to the country's infectious disease act, is perplexing, he said, because clubs have always acted properly. He says events outside are "good because you give people hope, because you offer people alternatives, because you also somehow give people back the love of life."

The Clubcommission said it's extending a campaign to help the clubs. About 30 works of art in the shape and size of guitars, each with the logo and signatures of a band, will be auctioned off to benefit a club. Among them are Rammstein, Die Ärzte, Seeed, In Extremo, Culcha Candela, The Bosshoss and Karat.

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