As we approach the one year anniversary of the world going into lockdown, it's important to remember that pandemic recovery means more than the distribution of. Performing artists and live event spaces have been hit especially hard under COVID. Still unlikely that any return to normalcy will happen by fall, it's clear we need to find alternative ways to invest in these creative communities.

Vans realized that they had a bunch of empty stores lying around and instead of letting them languish, the brand is converting them into hubs for their newest initiative, Channel 66. A cross between a community radio station and public access TV, Vans' latest project allows local artists and creatives across New York, Chicago, LA and Mexico City to use the spaces as Channel 66 studios. The sneaker brand has invited them to take over the airwaves and fill it with DJ sets, curated radio shows, talks, workshops and performances across music, art, sports and community topics.

Channel 66, which formally went on air February 8, will feature curated shows like Chessboxing with GZA, New Direction New York Hardcore Show with Walter Schreifels, Afropunk's Channel Interference, Poetry and Lyricism by Young Chicago Authors, The Girl Ultra Show which will look at the intersection of music and fashion and All Ages Show which will focus on the history of LA's DIY and punk scene. The digital livestream network's opening lineup also featuress DJ sets and guest appearances by Japanese Breakfast, Channel Tres, Vic Mensa, Laura Jane Grace, Duckwrth, Rosa Pistola, Flea, Serena Isioma, Vans Pro skater Daniel Lutheran and more.

Vans aims to highlight each city's unique sub-cultural heritage through the platform's programming as a part of their commitment to supporting artists and local communities. In addition to the already announced initial lineup, Channel 66 will be turning over their airwaves to local skate shops, restaurants, music venues and independent record labels as a part of their efforts to give back.

Channel 66 will continue to broadcast every weekday starting at 11:00 AM EST/ 8:00 AM PST with Friday nights reserved for marquee performances and DJ sets. Tune in to vans.com/channel66 for more.

Photos Courtesy of Vans

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