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German band turn van into club so fans can rock out one at a time

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BERLIN – German two-piece rock band Milliarden have turned a van into a club where they stage gigs for one fan at a time as a way of reaching music-lovers during the pandemic.

Separated by a plastic sheet, Milliarden, which translates as Billions, treat fans to acoustic versions of their songs, recreating a club atmosphere with lighting effects, posters and plastic roses.

Large cultural events, including concerts, have become virtually impossible in Germany due to the pandemic.

“The fact that we have the club with us, that we are the club owners, so to speak, is something we use to get to the people who are not so close to this, to this cultural landscape, who are not in the big cities,” band member Ben Hartmann said.

German rock band "Milliarden" (Billions) gives a concert in a van for a single fan separated by a plexiglass pane in Berlin, Germany, February 16, 2021.
German rock band “Milliarden” (Billions) gives a concert in a van for a single fan separated by a plexiglass pane in Berlin, Germany, February 16, 2021.
Reuters

“We actually went to the villages and stopped in front of people’s houses and played for them. A crisis like this one brings so many opportunities that you only recognise once you do stuff. You just have to do it.”

Milliarden this month released their third studio album, “Schuldig” (“Guilty”). Fans can win tickets for the exclusive shows via social media.

“I think it’s so nice that it works like this and that people respect it and accept it like that and get so emotionally connected to us here on this van. I think that is a gift,” said Johannes Aue, in charge of keyboards and clapping.

Milliarden this month released their third studio album, “Schuldig” (“Guilty”). Fans can win tickets for the exclusive shows via social media.
Milliarden this month released their third studio album, “Schuldig” (“Guilty”). Fans can win tickets for the exclusive shows via social media.
Reuters

“And that’s why it is awesome that we were able to pull it off without thinking how we could earn money with it. Because we are in an immense debt with our fans.”

“I’m just happy. Just happy. It was so nice … It was so great, it was really great,” said fan Nadine Spichal, exiting the van parked outside a Berlin nightclub.

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