While going clubbing may seem a distant memory, four extroverted friends looking to dance, drink, and be merry during quarantine created an online club where people from around the globe can come together to regain some normalcy.
COVID-19 has disrupted our world. As many businesses remain shut down and people continue to work from home, forms of entertainment have been limited to streaming TV shows, posting TikTok dances, and attempting trick ping pong shots.
People still have an innate desire to unwind and decompress, but there are limited options for doing so. That's where Club Quarantine comes in: a new type of entertainment in the form of a nightly virtual club with live music and dancing.
The Club Q Experience
Club Quarantine, also known as Club Q, was born on the first day of quarantine when four Toronto-based friends started an Instagram video chat so they could listen to music, dance, and let loose together from afar.
This became a nightly routine for the group and as word began to spread of their online club, more people began asking to join. So many, in fact, that they had to change their meeting space to Zoom. Club Q's co-founder, Brad Allen, explains, "Club Q is a virtual, queer, online rave experience on the Zoom app... It goes every night from 9 to 12 Eastern time."
Access to the online club is granted through a link that’s added to their Instagram bio each night at 9 EST.
Access to the online club is granted through a link that's added to the club's Instagram bio each night at nine Eastern. Once you have the Zoom code to enter, partygoers are admitted one-by-one.
Zoom's capabilities play a huge role in the success of the online club. It can host up to 1,000 people at a time and most importantly, it offers the Spotlight feature. Once a guest is "spotlighted," their live streamed video is featured and seen by all clubgoers.
Allen says the Spotlight feature is the heartbeat of Club Q because it creates a more interactive experience. For the time that you're on-screen, you feel like you're on-stage.
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Although an online club can't offer all the same services that a real one can- it's hard to buy someone a drink virtually- Club Q does provide its attendees with an experience as close as possible to the real thing. Each night offers a live DJ, door staff, and even a way to flirt via direct messaging.
Allen describes, "In the chatroom you can DM people privately or publicly. It's just like anything; people will find a way to flirt and connect... This doesn't change anyone because it's a digital space."
One thing missing from Club Q's model is a cover charge. Many other online clubs are requiring a cover charge to get in. For example, for entry into Club Quarantee, guests must purchase a $10 ticket. Then they're given the option of paying up to $80 for entry into VIP rooms with famous DJs and dancers.
Entry into Club Q, however, is completely free. "The idea of not allowing someone in a safe space because they couldn't afford it," says Allen, "or asking them, just feels like it goes against everything we do."
The Hottest Online Club on Zoom
The inclusiveness of Club Q's model, as Allen discussed, is important to creating a welcoming environment for the queer community to truly feel accepted. This, along with its free entry, has gained Club Q and its founders immediate success.
People are showing up in droves to experience Club Q. It was recently named the hottest Zoom club and has gained nearly 66,000 Instagram followers.
Many other online clubs require a cover charge to get in, but Club Q is free.
This virtual nightclub is a unique solution to an unexpected problem. While on the list of everyday activities lost during quarantine, clubbing falls low in terms of importance. However, the significance behind giving people an outlet to escape and socialize can't be overlooked.
Who knows, maybe this phenomenon is something that has some sticking power. For those who enjoy dancing and interacting but not so much the dark, sweaty, body odor-filled dancefloors of live clubs, virtual ones can provide a better alternative.
The future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown, but Club Q is helping many see a light, more specifically a strobe light, at the end of the tunnel.