COVID-19 has posed challenges to much of the music industry, but a recent documentary illuminates threats to Berlin nightlife that have been brewing far longer. The city’s Clubsterben – meaning “death of clubs” – is the focus of an installment of BBC‘s Art of Now series titled “Berlin’s Nightlife” hosted by English DJ Emily Dust.
As Selector recently touched on, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991 opened the door for event organizers to utilize a wealth of industrial spaces with little lawmaker intervention. In recent years, however, new developments have forced more club owners to relocate or discontinue their business altogether. Dust interviewed Tresor founder Dimitri Hegemann, Georg Kössler of Berlin’s parliament, and Berlin Club Commission Chair Pamela Schobess among others to paint a detailed picture of the dilemma.
According to the documentary, nightlife brought the city €1.5 billion in 2018. Schobess said that in 2019 the Commission had published research intended to educate the public on clubbing’s economic impact, and Kössler mentioned that one potential solution to the Clubsterben might be to explore ways clubs can occupy public spaces instead of private ones.
“Berlin’s Nightlife” can be streamed in its entirety via the BBC website.