As if the looming Clubsterben didn’t pose enough challenges for Berlin nightlife, COVID-19 has placed many establishments on the brink of collapse. Watergate Club has launched a fundraiser called “Let’s Continue” to prevent its own closure, earning an endorsement from none other than Derrick May.
The day before he joined Juan Atkins to headline a live-streamed event called Party Matrix, May uploaded a short video looking back on the time he spent at Watergate. “I was thinking about one of the more incredible, poignant moments of my career as far as a DJ is concerned,” he said. “I couldn’t help but have a wonderful moment at Watergate Club … this was an unbelievable moment – the love, the power, the appreciation, the respect, the concern – I felt overwhelmed. That was truly one of the most memorable and incredible moments of my entire career.”
The Berlin-Detroit Connection
As Selector recently explored, techno started out as something of a call and response between Germany and Detroit at least 40 years ago. Derrick May and his first-wave Detroit techno contemporaries began to see success overseas by the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1991, and the rise of clubs like Tresor afforded them an audience in the reunified country.
Although it began operating a decade later, Watergate Club has “written Berlin club history … for almost two decades” by their own accounts. Showcasing reggae, hip-hop and drum and bass after opening their doors in 2002, the club went on to specialize primarily in techno and house. In 2008, its owners branched out into the recording industry with the launch of Watergate Records.
Although it’s unclear how long closures will last, Watergate’s owners have set €100,000 as their fundraising goal. Donations can be made via Startnext.