No Live Music Until 2021?
The Answer Varies Depending on Where You Live
Cristal M Clark
One of the hardest hit industries who fell victim to the Coronavirus was the live entertainment industry and it was hit quite possibly with the cruelest of blows. After Congress realized that many of the gig workers within that industry made an actual income, they needed to provide them with some type of adequate support through unemployment for the short term, no one has offered a sustainable short term solution that will work into the long term. So many of the gig workers within the entertainment industry do things other than perform live shows behind the scenes that we don’t see that make some of those live performances such a huge success. And for some they actually made a pretty decent living at it. But this covers lighting, sound, special effects, photography, etc. all of those little things you see that add that wow factor, those individuals are not seeing an end in sight.
Unemployment typically caps you from getting anymore than 26 weeks maximum a year. Let that sink in for a moment. 26 out of 52 weeks. It has left many wondering what they are going to do when you also take into consideration that most states have said they don’t see live entertainment other than maybe football happening until the spring of 2021.
I’ve had a couple of calls recently where industry leaders are in fact looking for ideas, input and suggestions as they grapple with the possibility that they might be out of an income until maybe next spring.
Here in Denver when bars and restaurants open back up, they will only be allowed to have 25% of their capacity and the city has yet to let us know about venues that host live performances.
The potential to hit to the industry for the long term is unfathomable. That hits everyone involved negatively. Mentally this is devastating to so many people who have poured their lives into bringing us live entertainment. A lot of these individuals travel both the US and the world doing events and shows and just because they are not a headline group or you don’t necessarily know what that individual contributes, they are not famous – we can’t just tell them “fuck you, you should have chosen a different profession.”
We have to get performers back on stage, we have to resume sporting events but the question is how do we accomplish that safely without a vaccine and without enough tests? What’s more is how do we create an atmosphere that allows for more than 25% of capacity so that folks do not lose income?
On the flip side of that you will see consumers who will be reluctant to attend any live venues until a vaccine is available.
So what is the answer?
That is what the industry is trying to figure out. I am watching some local yet big time bands playing on Facebook, doing live shows but it’s not bringing in the funds they have lost and it’s heartbreaking.
I may not want to attend a live show until a vaccine is available. I would however pay to watch the event in more of a pay per view situation. The idea being that you open up let’s say Red Rocks for the summer, groups can play but to only 25% of the capacity, you have drones, a camera crew, the other gig workers and you televise the show. The gig workers wear PPE so as to reduce the chance of infection, the group playing practices social distancing whilst on stage as does the audience. And making that happen is not an easy task as anyone who has ever attended a concert or live show knows. That isn’t as easy in a smaller venue to accomplish, like the Gothic Theater but it is doable with the right planning, thinking and preparation. Smaller venues could charge more for the pay per view tickets to help make up for lost revenue due to lost alcohol sales, the reality is, I can drink for less at home than I can attending a show, right?
And the same can be done for sports it’s all in how you do it then sell it.
We are all hurting through this financially but, it isn’t just up to the government to get us back up and running, we all need to be a part of figuring out how to get things up and running safely because our government doesn’t always think of everyone, in fact the government will leave many out because they cannot act quickly enough. So anyone who appreciates a live venue or how has friends or loved ones playing these venues should be helping get idea’s going so that we can get our friends back to doing what they do best.
Cristal M Clark