The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the current pandemic. As hotels, restaurants, bars and other businesses that depend on gathering together in groups struggle to survive, many are pivoting to new ways of doing things, to the best of their abilities. One such place is The Surf Lodge, the Montauk concert venue and hotel that guests flock to every summer for waterside events, dinner, and dancing.
Surf Lodge owner Jayma Cardoso tells NYLON that reimagining the Surf Lodge without its famous live events has been no easy task. But with the help and motivation of her team, Cardoso has begun the process of figuring out how The Surf Lodge can still function through these times. "The thing about bartenders, managers, front of the house — we're survivors," she says. Should the hotel be allowed to open again this summer, the venue plans to update its rooms to become less beachy crash pads, and more functional living spaces that can accommodate people for up to a month.
Cardoso and her team have also decided not to give up on their signature live events just yet. Leaning into a years-long partnership with Gov Ball — and a new one with Bumble — the Surf Lodge will put on a virtual sunset concert series to keep the spirit of summer alive until guests can return once more. The first installation of the series will feature headliners Snoop Dogg, Sofi Tucker, Bob Moses, and RÜFÜS DU SOL.
Speaking to NYLON from their house outside Miami, Sophie and Tucker of Sofi Tukker emphasized the importance of virtual concerts, saying, "Dancing and sinking into music is more important now than ever. Especially now that we're all cooped up in our homes, we need release and we need a break from our own minds. Music can do that. And beyond that, having some sort of feeling of being in it with other people, even if it's via a chat room, is so important to feel community and togetherness."
Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance of Canadian electronic duo Bob Moses shared a similar sentiment, saying, "[Virtual concerts] keep us all connected during a time when it’s easy to feel lonely. It’s awesome to play an online show and see the comments from fans and the community it creates. Also, we’ve spent a majority of the last 7 years of our life on the road. It feels so weird not having shows, so this is the next best thing."
James Hunt of RÜFÜS DU SOL added, "Virtual concerts are still important because seeing live music is so ingrained in our culture and still provides such a point of catharsis and emotional connection for so many people. To be able to still do this despite the limitations presented by COVID-19 feels important for the collective psyche."