19 October 2020

Clubbing in the age of COVID-19

| Lottie Twyford
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Socially distanced queueing at Mooseheads. Photo: Facebook.

If there’s anything that sums up 2020, it’s chair-dancing in your seat at a night club.

Proving revellers can be as innovative as everyone else in the age of COVID-19, entertainers say club-goers are finding new ways to enjoy themselves despite the regulations.

As restrictions have eased in the nation’s capital, popular nightlife spots such as Mooseheads and Fiction have re-opened to welcome partygoers.

There is, of course, one major difference in 2020. For most of us, clubbing is associated with the mosh pit and with dancing in a tightly packed crowd but that’s no longer permitted.

Health restrictions mean revellers are not permitted to stand while drinking, nor are they allowed to dance, congregate or mingle with other groups.

Despite all that, clubs are doing their best to encourage patrons and say people are adjusting to a new normal.

Canberran Kali Notaras (aka Kaliopi DJ), says the entertainment/music industry is hanging by a thread in the ACT but “Canberra is the only nightlife around”.

The DJ, who is likely to be found playing at Fiction over the weekend, said that while things have changed, venues were doing their best to ensure patrons had the best clubbing experience possible while staying safe.

READ ALSO Live music lifeline a drop in the ocean for ACT venues

Even with tables installed on the dance floor, she said dancing was more than possible.

“[I’ve] seen the quirkiest, arms-only dance moves in these past few months and it does nothing but bring a smile to the faces of those on stage,” Notaras said.

“Performers are putting more effort than before into both the lighting and sound, and that’s reflected in the enthusiasm of the crowd.”

Given the year we have had, it is no surprise that people are keen to get out, party and blow off some steam. The combination of job losses, sky-rocketing rental prices and likely fee hikes mean that young people have been facing uncertainty and confusion.

One partygoer, who has already revisited her favourite pre-pandemic nightspot of Mooseheads, said despite all the changes, going out with friends was still a good night – albeit a little ridiculous because everyone in the club was also “sitting around a table doing weird chair dances”.

Mooseheads has released a light-hearted video on their social media channels instructing patrons to “go hard” but to remain seated at all times. (You can watch it on Facebook.)

A previous video posted to the club’s Facebook page laid down the ground rules for how to enjoy a night out – including socially distanced queuing and ordering, as well as using sanitiser and checking in upon entry.

Mr Wolf has been the most notable casualty of the pandemic. A post on the club’s social media accounts in late August announced that the “Wolf had left the den” for the last time.

Others, like Cube, have opted to remain closed and instead provide live streams from DJs so the party can continue at home. Notaras hopes that “with the support of the crowd they can return again”.

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