Coronavirus may ruin Slovakia's music clubs for good

Without help, another COVID-19 wave could be the final nail in the coffin.

Club goers listen to live music at the Stromoradie music club in Prešov in 2019. (Source: Stromoradie/smARTin fotograf)

At a sunlit cemetery in the eastern Slovak town of Prešov, an older woman dressed up in black, leans over a grave by a little church to place fresh tulips on it. The small music club with a conspicuous sign - Stromoradie - stands a short walking distance away, hidden among the trees of a long narrow avenue. The cultural microorganism, pulsating with life before the pandemic, may bleed out without a helping hand.

Facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus, Stromoradie and 16 other small music clubs, which organise about 2,000 concerts a year for more than half a million visitors, has thus established the Association of Music Clubs in Slovakia, hoping to dig themselves out of the unfavourable position they are in.

“Without the help of the state or landlords, we will not be able to survive, and most clubs are in danger of closing down, or they will not be able to continue existing,” the Association said.

The Prešov-based club, founded by the local band Chiki Liki Tu-A, opened over a year ago. The group’s front man Martin Višňovský has emphasised that “clubs are the core of the music world”, which usually limit their operation during the summer festival season. The pandemic has kept music clubs temporarily shut since mid-March.

Because of worldwide travel restrictions and a ban on public events over 100 people in Slovakia, Irish singer Lisa Hannigan, set to perform on June 14 at Stromoradie, is one of those who had to postpone her show.

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