THE POLAR Bear (cap. 200) in Hull is live streaming weekly performances until mid-August, to showcase artistes and maintain live music at the venue.
Taking place every Tuesday and organised in conjunction with promoter Humber Street Sesh (HSS), the shows see artistes perform on the dance-floor area in a living room-style set up, with a small team of technicians present.
Run by multi-venue operator VMS Live, the Polar Bear required permissions from environmental health and the city council’s licensing officer to run the shows.
“Our team volunteered to get back to what they love doing, producing live music,” says VMS CEO Bert Van Hoerk. “We got approval on condition there were no members of the public present and we minimised the number of staff in the production.
“We created a Covid19 protocol including wearing masks, taking temperatures on entry and no entry for people with symptoms, which everyone signed.”
The first event, at the end of June, attracted over 225 viewers during the live show, while over 7,000 have subsequently seen it on Facebook. Viewers are invited to donate on all platforms, for artistes including The Hubbards, King No-One, Polo and Fever.
“We have a small Arts Council grant and any donations are split 45/45/10 between the band, the production team and HSS, but it loses money,” says Van Horck. “I’m hoping to build-up viewers [and donations] over 12 weeks to the point where it stops losing money, in which case we can carry on until March.
“Live music is an anchor in young people’s lives and I hope we are contributing to their wellbeing.”