PAARD - A Music Venue Fighting For Resilience

When the COVID-19 pandemic locked down the Netherlands it left many businesses with great uncertainty. An example of one of these businesses is the music venue Paard in The Hague.
Together with the ResilientSociety platform, a fruitful Ideation fest was held on the 8th of May with Paard crew members. The goal was to map out a course of action for them post-lockdown.

About a month after this session we caught up with attendee Bas de Wit, Paard’s former Head of Marketing and current Strategy & Partnership expert. The venue is facing a lot of productional challenges and a huge financial setback because of the crisis. As the health crisis is being deemed manageable in Holland at this point, we’re still facing an economical crisis as a result of it.
“When the pandemic hit, there was a huge sense of unruliness that was naturally met with the desire to not sit still. We wanted to plan ahead and find the best way to organize events on smaller scales while keeping an eye out for the resilience of our crew, audience and (inter)national artists. We really want to look to the future, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if this is all just postponement of execution! I went from moving around tables & seats for a new audience layout, to writing new businessmodels and anything in between. The good thing about this time, though, is that we are forced to think of cool ideas.” 

Sprint Methodology for Ideation in Practice

The co-creation brainstorm session focused on maintaining the societal value of the music scene surrounding Paard, translating that value into action, and identifying stakeholders’ interests and roles. Working their way through the “Sprint methodology for Ideation
”, organized by a team of WorldStartup’s community, two ideas were made concrete.

“We have two concepts running right now: an in-house interactive streaming event is the first one, and a collaborative carousel festival throughout The Hague is the second one.”
Paard is a venue with two stages, a cafe area, and places that usually are not accessible to the audience, such as the storage space and backstage areas. After the brainstorm session and keeping in mind the 1,5 meter distance rule, they thought to host an experience using the entire building. This experience would also include the ‘behind the scenes’ areas so that the audience can be divided into groups that go from one room to the other, thus experiencing PAARD in new ways.

“We have used this same concept to book an evening with two bands that each would play simultaneously on our two separate stages. After they are done playing the one stage for the audience there, the bands switch stages and meet the next audience. Besides that we also want to set up an indoor streaming service, so that when a band plays on one stage, part of the audience can watch them on screen from the second stage area. Preferably the audience and the band can still interact with each other within this setting.”

Co-Creating New Creative Connections

This first idea and all of its variations focuses on Paard’s autonomy, as well as their great willingness to move forward. They are finding ways to keep creating connections with and for their audience. Their hope is that they can provide a satisfying experience for people, so that they will still want to visit and collaborate with Paard.

How would that work with the international artists though? When will touring become practical again? How substantial are streaming options when it comes to the international music exchange that this scene’s stakeholders hold so dear?

Until this becomes clear Paard also focuses to add (interactive) speech-streams, movie-presentations, and talkshows and by (inter)national artists to their programme.

The idea of interactive streaming options arose from the need to improve the current way other venues have been streaming so far. Paard wants to move away from the generic one-way streaming, and create a more stimulating online experience using high quality, multi cam, two-way streaming, in possible combination with immersive 3D audio registration.  

Designing for the Future; A Gamble?

In July or August they expect to hear if their second idea of organizing a festival throughout the city is eligible for subsidy. This would make for a great opportunity to revive the music scene in the city post-lockdown. It also opens up more opportunities for the ultra-passionate Paard to generate the income they need to survive.

If their ideas work out well, they see a bright and modernized future for themselves, artists, audiences, and the city in general. “Besides inviting artists to do interactive live stream speeches, we can also rent out our venue and/or streaming service to others. We are also excited by the thought of organizing dance nights using these new possibilities,” Bas says with great curiosity in his voice.