Due to the world being thrown into a pandemic, the music industry has gone silent. Every day there’s a shed load of new announcements for gig cancellations or postponements, with many not even giving a rescheduled date because of the uncertainty of these times.
With social distancing measures set to last for months, the future of gig culture seems very unknown. If these measures as some say, are expected to go on for who knows how long, concerts would be virtually impossible. However, venues are trying to find ways round this. From concerts in cars in Denmark, (https://www.stereogum.com/2082972/drive-in-concert-denmark/news/ ) to Sweden’s controversial socially distanced gigs. Yet one factor often unconsidered is when fans would actually feel safe going to gigs again. Personally, live music culture is so heavily incorporated into my life the idea of returning to it excites me, yet I cannot ignore underlying worries as to whether it’s safe. To be perfectly honest, the thought of a socially distanced concert has no current appeal, but with no knowledge of when this will all end, that is a mindset that will evidently change.
Briefly catching up with Brighton indie quartet Black Honey, they gave their thoughts on lockdown and its effects on the industry.
How has the pandemic impacted the band so far?
“ All of our touring is cancelled for the next 9 months so no festivals or gigs to sell merch at which means we lose our biggest source of income. We are making plans though the streaming world is not as badly affected. “
From an artists perspective, how do you see the future of live music/ gig culture?
“ I think if there’s one thing everyone is going to need after this, it’s live music. I’m looking forward to how much we will all appreciate being able connect in bigger ways. I can’t wait to see all my friends at festivals again. “
Artists are struggling, they need the live music culture to survive in the industry as it’s such a large proportion of their income. If able to, fans can now donate whatever they can to bands via streaming sites such as Spotify.
Although there is the question of when we can all go back to gigs and embrace live music culture, there is the underlying threat of the major loss of many grassroots venues. Personally, I find these venues to be so key to the music industry as they are a space for smaller artists to grow, fans to experience intimacy unachievable in large venues. They even make live music more accessible due to their location and tendency to sell tickets costing far less than in venues such as those in the O2 chain. Grassroots venues are at the heart of the music industry yet many are under the threat of closure due to financial problems the pandemic has caused. Unlike large corporations, without business, these venues can not stay afloat. #saveourvenues has been set up, by Music Venue Trust, in order to raise financial aid for 556 who are “at imminent risk of being permanently closed down”. Artists have been supporting this through doing live concerts, such as Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice going live on Facebook for the cause. #saveourvenues brings hope that we may not lose all our grassroots venues, so if you do have any money to spare, you can donate at: Save Our Venues
Without doubt, this pandemic will effect the live music industry and culture surrounding it, it’s non-negotiable. However, there are better days to come, one day we will return to what we know; festivals, gigs. For now, the generosity and effort from so many is saving this often overlooked industry. If you can, donate to your local grassroots venue, support your favourite items, shop at independent record stores. There are so many ways to help, even non-monetary ways such as just simply sharing via social media.