Bringing Back The Audience: Kiesgrube Germany Partners With GRID

Kiesgrube Düsseldorf in Germany
Courtesy of Kiesgrube
– Kiesgrube Düsseldorf in Germany
If it wasn’t for the “no dancing” rule, you could almost forget we’re living in Corona times.

German venue Kiesgrube has partnered with digital transaction app GRID in order to bring back events with an audience.

Düsseldorf-based Kiesgrube has been welcoming the biggest DJs in electronic music since opening in 1997. Many of those names had to cancel their appearance this summer.
To bring back at least some of it usual business, Kiesgrube founder Tom Preuss, alongside Trivago founder Rolf Schrömgens, Vetsak founder Max Gansow and gastronomy entrepreneur Walid El Scheikh, invested in an app called GRID, which aims to digitalize the event-going experience.
GRID facilitates ticketing, check-in and the wardrobe for Kiesgrube events. Drinks and snacks are ordered directly from the table, using the app, “hygiene-trained, mask-equipped staff” will serve the orders, according to the announcement.
Visitors wishing to attend event at Kiesgrube need to download the GRID app, enter their payment details and top it up with drink credit. There’s a minimum consumption depending on the time of day and table location on site.
Payment and tipping are also done via app, as is the COVID-19 registration that has become obligatory for guests visiting gastronomic offerings in Germany in order to facilitate the backtracking of infection chains. Doing it via app eliminates the need for pens and paper that’s handled between staff and guests.
Tom Preuss
– Tom Preuss
Founder of Kiesgrube and co-founder of GRID.

The regular dance floor at Kiesgrube is giving way to tables for up to eight individuals. Kiesgrube founder Tom Preuss told Pollstar, “unfortunately dancing is not allowed…government rules. Guests must stay at their table, with a reservation only. But they can still enjoy the music, the atmosphere, and the good vibes together as a group.”

The table concept certainly limits capacity of Kiesgrube, “one of the largest open-air clubs in Germany,” according to Preuss. “But, I mean, let’s be clear – Corona brought us to our knees. There are just so, so many things that can go wrong in this situation. When you exchange cash, when you’re asking the guest in line for their name, go through the guest list, ask them their name again, when you take their ticket to pick up their coat, when you ask them what drink they want, and on and on. With the app, you don’t risk any of that!
“On top of that, it’s much faster and more organized. So it’s much safer, but also, in general, it helps us run better. As a promoter I have time to focus on making sure everyone is having a good time and staying safe, and less on organizational BS,” Preuss continued.
Development of GRID began pre-pandemic, seeing that the team had identified “shortcomings in running offline events, with or without Corona,” co-founder Max Gansow told Pollstar. Those shortcomings included “lack of transparency for the venue, inefficiencies in ordering, long lines, the inherent bias in terms of who got in and who didn’t, the large amount of waste created (wrist bands, coat check tickets, paper entry tickets, tokens, loadable wristbands, etc.) and more. 
“Similar to how businesses like Shopify made it possible for offline shops to go online and have visibility over their business in order to run and scale them more efficiently, GRID provides a similar solution for clubs, festivals, bars and restaurants. Even something like sporting events could benefit from using GRID,” Gansow explained.
Max Gansow
– Max Gansow
Founder of furniture company Vetsak and co-founder of GRID

What is more, being able to conduct business even with government restrictions in place will prevent further job loss. It is also the only way to restore the confidence of the people working in this business as well as the fans’. 

Said Preuss, “At the moment, no artist is booking anywhere that isn’t 100% safe. I’ve been speaking with agents/agencies who are double checking on the venue safety precautions, which is why we decided to work with GRID in the first place. 
“It gave us an opportunity to re-open, and we received feedback from both the artists and the city that adding GRID as an additional safety measure was a good idea. Kiesgrube is known for their superstar acts, from Carl Cox, Sven Väth, Marco Carola, Loco Dice, to Tale of Us, Ricardo Villalobos, Fatboy Slim  – Pan Pot is playing this weekend – it was important to us the the biggest names in music still felt safe enough to play at Kiesgrube.”
The series of events realised in this way is called “Stay Wild Moonchild.” Artists to perform live at Kiesgrube over the coming weekends include Pan Pot, Detroit Swindle, Luuk van Dijk, William Djoko, Lazare Hoche, Anotr, Britta Arnold and more.
“Our community was desperate to find a way that we could still come together safely under the current restrictions,” said Preuss, adding, “You see, Kiesgrube is more than meets the eye, we are a family – and of course our family missed each other. Family also takes care of one another; and it was absolutely clear that we would only bring people together if we could find an exceptionally safe way to do so.”
Said Gansow, “It’s not like we enjoy not being able to hug one another. In many ways, when it comes to limiting group size, social distancing, etc. we’re not exactly warmly embracing this ‘new normal.’ But we’re happy if GRID can help provide an alternative to not being able to go out at all.”
The GRID app
– The GRID app

A few events at Kiesgrube have already been realised with GRID. According to Gansow, most feedback from guests has been positive. “Guests approached us to tell us that, ‘it doesn’t get any better’ and that it was ‘the easiest way to order drinks and get in.’ Which is really motivating, but of course, not all feedback was as positive. We still have the issue that not everyone has access to a credit card, and that Paypal isn’t working as a payment option due to alcohol restrictions. But these are good learnings for us.”

The GRID team is currently in discussions with top alcohol brands, clubs in Ibiza, as well as international event companies, none of which could be named at press time.