Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Club is offering an online extravaganza of performances for Beatles fans around the world as COVID-19 prevents annual festival. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Club is taking the annual International Beatleweek festival on online for the first time in its history as the venue battle for survival.
Last week, Cavern Club director Bill Heckle said the COVID-19 lockdown had cost the iconic Mathew Street outlet £30,000 a week and said he has had to make 20 staff redundant.
International Beatleweek would normally be its biggest week of the year. This week the club would have expected to welcome 12,000 Fab Four fans from 40 different countries for the week-long celebration. It is the centrepiece of Liverpool’s £90m Beatles heritage industry.
Instead, the Cavern will be showing entertainment from bands and artists from more than 30 different countries including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, The US, Italy, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland via The Cavern’s Facebook page.
The free renamed Virtually’ Beatleweek will is taking place from Thursday, August 27, to Tuesday, September 1, with more than 100 hours of pre-recorded performances paying tribute to The Beatles.
The Cavern was synonymous with the Beatles who performed there 292 times in their early career. Bill said: “International Beatleweek is the highlight of the year for many of our loyal customers from around the world, and for that reason, we couldn’t let a year go by without doing something to mark the occasion.
“At a time when we can’t all be together to celebrate in our usual way, we hope that many of our international friends will join us online and share their own ‘virtual’ Beatleweek celebrations with us.”
Similar to many other businesses, The Cavern Club closed its doors due to coronavirus on March. 18 It is set to reopen for Virtually Beatleweek to a limited capacity live audience who will experience new social distancing measures.
“The Cavern has seen many closures in its turbulent 63-year history, but none have been because of a pandemic,” added Bill. “We are having to adjust our business operation but re-opening our doors after five months feels monumental.
“We hope we can re-open our doors beyond Beatleweek Festival and welcome people back to the world famous club.”
The Cavern online music programme runs from August 27 to September 1 via www.Facebook.com/Cavernclubliverpool from 12pm to 11pm (GMT). It will then be repeated to accommodate international time differences. Online audiences will have the opportunity to engage with The Cavern and other Beatleweek fans during the shows.