How to help Boston-area venue staff affected by COVID-19 [updating]

Courtesy of the Coolidge Corner Theatre

The recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has brought the arts and nightlife communities to a standstill, and Massachusetts’ ongoing ban on assembled crowds of 25 people or more has had a swift impact — theaters, rock clubs, bars, restaurants and other places of social gathering have been shuttered as measures are taken to protect the public. Below are a compilation of fundraising links to help the venues around the city endure through this devastating turn of events.

This post will be updated as more information comes in, and readers are encouraged to send new and updated info and venue suggestions to editorial@vanyaland.com.


ONCE Ballroom & Lounge, Somerville

A GoFundMe has been established for the independent multi-room Highland Avenue performance space, home to the Rock And Roll Rumble and a dedicated local music program, to pay for its staff (“door people, sound engineers, bartenders, etc.”) while it remains closed indefinitely.

Find our coverage of ONCE Somerville events here.


Great Scott and O’Brien’s Pub, Allston

A GoFundMe has been established for employees of the Commonwealth and Harvard Avenue bar and rock clubs “in order to help [its] most at risk employees.” Both venues, independently-owned and long-standing pillars of the local music and comedy scenes, will be closed until April 17 at the earliest.

Find our coverage of Great Scott and O’Brien’s Pub events here and here, respectively.


Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline

The historic Harvard Avenue non-profit art deco film house “made the difficult decision to suspend all films, special events, and education programs… through at least Friday, April 3.” It also announced that all of its employees, “including hourly employees whose schedules will be affected,” will continue to receive their full pay during its closure. The Coolidge has kept its membership application program active and is able to receive donations via coolidge.org/donate.

Find our coverage of Coolidge Corner Theatre events here.

Courtesy of the Coolidge Corner Theatre


The Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

The legendary Harvard Square non-profit film house will be closed until at least April 7, with Boston Underground Film Festival, Wicked Queer, the Independent Film Festival Boston, and the DocYard all suspending or postponing events. “We also want you to know that our part-time staff, many of whom rely on The Brattle to make ends meet, will still receive their hourly pay for all shifts they miss during this period,” The Brattle writes. Donations may be made here, and monthly donors can contribute here.

Find our coverage of Brattle events here.


The Jungle Community Music Club, Somerville

A GoFundMe has been established for employees of intimate Union Square venue, which opened just last year. “Our small team of hourly staff built a community music club in the concrete jungle,” states the fundraiser page. “The Jungle opened in May 2019, and it was our hourly staff that kept this independent, owner operated, small venue for live music open and supporting local music every night for almost a year.” The Jungle expects to be closed until at least April 5.

Find our coverage of The Jungle events here.


Good Life, Boston

A GoFundMe has been established for Good Life, a multi-floor Downtown Crossing nightlife staple (and restaurant) that has pushed forward Boston’s dance party scene with vivid and creative programming for the past decade-and-a-half. “We support the governor & mayor’s decision to cease operations but unfortunately that leaves a heavy void for our family of employees that solely rely on their wages from this establishment for survival,” the GoFundMe states. “In the 15 years we have resided in Downtown Crossing, we built everything from the inside out. The foundation of Good Life is truly our employees. The fabric they have created throughout the years are the relationships with each other and the relationships forged with you — our customer, our extended family.”

Find our coverage of Good Life events here.


Middlesex Lounge, Cambridge

A GoFundMe has been established for Middlesex Lounge, another vital cog in our city’s nightlife scene. Over the years, the Massachusetts Avenue location has been host to essential dance party destinations (Hearthrob, The Wave, Make It New); all money from this fundraising effort will go to its current nine-member bar staff. “Middlesex Lounge is selling gift cards to those who want to support but I have started this GFM specifically to help the staff,” writes Nate Brown. “We don’t know how long this will last or what the full impact will be but while we are sheltered in place, the staff is slowly going broke trying to feed themselves… If you are still working from home and are not (as) financially impacted like these guys are, I ask you to think of them and make a donation.”

Find our coverage of Middlesex Lounge events here.


The Middle East and Sonia, Cambridge

A GoFundMe has been established for employees of the multi-room Central Square live music complex, which includes multiple restaurant spaces. “The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub has been a family-run local Cambridge business for over four decades,” the fundraising page declares. “More than three of these have been spent supporting local, regional and even global artists. We would like to continue working with these communities and promote an entertainment (and hopefully entertaining) legacy. We want to try our best to help these families, small and large, during this testing time of our existence.”

Find our coverage of Middle East and Sonia events here and here, respectively.


The Comedy Studio, Somerville

A GoFundMe has been established for employees of the Union Square comedy club, organized by Gary Gulman and Mike Birbiglia. “The Comedy Studio in Boston is one of my favorite places to perform,” Gulman writes. “The staff there works so hard and I want to make sure they’re ok during this national crisis. So Mike Birbiglia and I, along with some other great comics, are raising money on here with some live chats on Instagram: @garygulman, @birbigs.”

Find our coverage of Comedy Studio events here.


The Wilbur, Boston

A GoFundMe has been established for employees and staff of The Wilbur, the historic Theatre District comedy hotbed. The fundraiser page has been created by Mike Birbiglia. “The Wilbur in Boston is one of my favorite places to perform,” he writes. “The staff there works so hard and I want to make sure they’re ok during this national crisis. So we’re raising some money on here with some live chats on Instagram: @birbigs.”

Find our coverage of The Wilbur events here.


The Sinclair, Cambridge

A GoFundMe has been established for bartenders of the Harvard Square rock club and restaurant, home to countless shows and some of the area’s best dance nights (Soulelujah, Glitter Boys). “As everyone knows, the coronavirus outbreak has decimated the music and restaurant industries,” writes organizer Jessica Goldman. “As The Sinclair is actually both, our staff has taken a very hard financial hit since we will have to remain closed for quite some time. We know that there a lot of causes and people that need help, but any little bit helps us to stay afloat during this strange and trying time. We all appreciate your support and can’t wait until we can rock out again!”

Find our coverage of The Sinclair events here.


The Model Cafe, Allston

A GoFundMe has been established for the staff of the beloved Allston dive bar and longtime music scene hangout, which hosts DJ events and occasional live music. “Who doesn’t love The Model Cafe?!” writes the organizer. “It’s a staple of Allston for many reasons. It’s where you go when you get out of a show, or after a long day at work and need to let loose. It’s a place of comfort for so many, mostly due to the staff, who makes everyone feel like a “regular”, who recognizes the underdog and who look out for you, when maybe you’ve had one too many… The Model is a place you can always rely on, to escape for a bit and dance your problems away… at least until 1:45am and then it’s time to make your way to the door! And after everyone goes home to sleep off those PBR’s and Washington’s Apples, the exhausted staff stay a few more hours to clean up our messes and prepare to do it all again the next night.” The GoFundMe asks for donations “to help these people who have always been there for us.”

Find our coverage of Model Cafe events here.