ONCE Somerville transforms into a ‘Virtual Venue’ while we’re all at home


More than a month after ONCE Somerville was forced to temporarily shutter its doors due to the pandemic, the Highland Avenue venue has plans to unveil a virtual venue on May 1 via YouTube.

Like many independent venues in Greater Boston, ONCE has been closed since mid-March in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With no certain reopening date in sight, the club’s staff has organized a way for folks to tune into livestreams of ONCE’s regular variety of programming, from live music, to yoga and bingo. The virtual venue launches this Friday at 8 p.m. with sets from DJ Flaccid and DJ Sir Rich Wentworth.

“When ONCE abruptly closed, it left a dark hole, where only a day before there had been noise, art and community,” ONCE owner JJ Gonson tells Vanyaland. “I haven’t got a clue how long we will be closed for, but I can’t stand to just wait for this to be over without music and social connection. Clearly, from the activity from musicians — brilliantly productive in this crisis — a lot of people feel the same way. For six years ONCE has helped people to assemble physically and now we are going to try to help them to assemble virtually. A YouTube channel is not going to replace our venue, but I hope that we can maintain a connection to our friends and creative performance until we can all be together again at ONCE.”


Check out the first two weeks of scheduled events below, and donate to ONCE’s GoFundMe page here.

May 2020 ONCE Virtual Venue Lineup:
May 1: Virtual Venue Launch Party with DJ Flaccid & DJ Sir Rich Wentworth, 8p.m.
May 2: Black Widow Yoga, 11a.m.
May 3: ONCE Broadcast Bingo with Boopsie Commons, 3 p.m.
May 7: Billy Hough: 21st Century Blues, 7:30p.m.
May 8: No Small Children, 7:30 p.m.
May 9: Couchfest with Jill McCracken, Blindspot, Sur5ill, 2 p.m.
May 9: Dark Spring Boston Presents Pilgrims of Yearning, Kelly Spyglass, and Goddess Gloss, 5 p.m.
May 14: Sophia Belle of Home Despot, 7:30 p.m.
May 15: Dave Derby of the Dambuilders, 7:30 p.m.