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NEWS / PRESS

NEWS / PRESS

Oaklandside: DJs make it work during the Pandemic

With bars closed and parties prohibited, some Oakland DJs are turning to virtual events to keep the music going.

It was mid-March and DJ Platurn was worried. A two-decade veteran of the turntables, had set up various monthly residencies with local DJs at Hello Stranger, the bar where he works as the booking agent, and someone was scheduled to spin records every night of the week. But on March 15, the music came to a halt like a needle scratch.

“We had a gig. It was a Sunday day party, and it was the same day that [Governor] Newsom put out a statement that businesses needed to close their doors,” Platurn said. “We closed our doors that Sunday.”

Before COVID-19, Oakland’s nightlife was eclectic and vibrant. Every night, bars, lounges, and restaurants like District and Parliament in Old Oakland served up cocktails and dancing. Somar, dubbed “the people’s bar,” was a great place to grab an after-work drink and listen to someone mixing beats. DJ Lady Ryan was one of Hello Stranger’s more prolific DJs. AU Lounge on Broadway was a great retreat after getting dinner at Drake’s, and the scene of Sazon Libre‘s monthly soiree featuring DJ Baysik, Guapi, and DJ Mr. Lucky spinning Latinx sounds every second Saturday.

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