As we approach the one year anniversary of the closure of live music venues in New York, the future of live music remains uncertain and venues in North Brooklyn are doing what they can to get through these difficult times. 

The “Save Our Stages” Act sets aside $10 billion in funding for performance spaces across the country and is helping businesses in Brooklyn survive the pandemic. “It’s a life vest for sure,” venue owner Scott Koshnoodi, told Brooklyn Paper.

As of February 23, New York State allows venues with a 10,000 person capacity to open at 10% occupancy, with a requirement for all guests to have proof of negative COVID tests. Cuomo also announced movie theaters will be able to reopen starting March 5 at 25% capacity. While this does not impact local, small music venues, these openings point to some movement towards opening concert venues again across New York. 

These days the underground punk and hardcore venue, Saint Vitus, has shifted to an online store with clothing and some vinyl offerings: “2020 hasn’t been kind to music but Saint Vitus has endured due to the phenomenal support of it’s community and an unwavering commitment to the spirit that created it,” their website reads. Saint Vitus is also hosting an Instagram Live interview series called “Age of Quarantine,” with in-depth interviews with musicians and artists including Xiu Xiu, tattoo artist Tamara Santibañez, Laura Stevenson and many others. 

As Williamsburg Music Hall waits to open their doors, staff are putting playlists out on Spotify and decorating their box office windows.

The Knitting Factory is selling face masks and t-shirts that read “I miss live music” and hosting virtual shows with Acid Mothers Temple performing on March 6. Tickets are $3.98 to stream the show and $9.98 for a stream ticket and an audio download of the show.  

Baby’s All Right has launched Baby TV, a streaming platform where you can watch a livestream of artists performing live at Baby’s. “In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are launching a streaming platform that recreates this social function of our venue while at the same time helping put money back into the pockets of those who need it. Each show will be $5 with an option to donate above and beyond,” Baby’s All Right said in an Instagram post. 

Artist Jen Toth sits in front of her artwork at Pete’s Candy Store Credit: Jen Toth

Pete’s Candy Store is showing visual art by local artists for outdoor diners while they wait to reopen live music. “It feels good to be able to share art with the community in a different way than people are used to here at Pete’s,” bar manager Somers Barto told Greenpointers

Warsaw, a Greenpoint classic (with recent neo-Nazi connections) has been hosting musicians on Facebook Live ,where artists perform from home or studio spaces with donations directed to The Hunger Network.

While the future for many of North Brooklyn’s esteemed performance venues still remains unclear, while we wait to gather, listen and dance in person again, the best we can all do is work together to stop the spread, support these small businesses and eagerly attend events once it is safe to do so.

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