(Photo by Diana Lambert)
As an avid lover of music and live shows – this one hurts to write.
Live music has been absolutely decimated by the pandemic. Tours have been halted with no start date in sight. Crews have been put out of work indefinitely, robbed of their revenue stream. Small businesses, who are often overlooked in this realm, relied on the tourism of live music to continue their operations and are now struggling day-to-day.
The joy of live music lies in the connection between artists, their music, and their fans felt within a physical space. When this option simply does not exist, at least indoors, how else can this connection be felt? We’ve had the opportunity to adapt in the outdoor space, implementing CDC protocols with drive-in and socially-distanced concerts. But, will live music as we know it ever return?
Seen within this seemingly never-ending darkness is a bit of a silver lining – one yet to be developed within sectors such as the theatre industry. With artists forced into isolation, the amount of creative material to emerge from this period has been astonishing. Recording an artist’s music and their performances just happens to be the norm. Take Taylor Swift’s folklore and evermore for example, or even her live concert folklore: the long pond studio sessions released on Disney+ this past year.
Musical artists of all stature have the opportunity to continue to work on and share their craft from the comfort of their own homes (although, there’s no denying that this comes easier to artists with more clout, and subsequently more resources at their disposal). From impromptu Instagram or Facebook live streams to pay-what-you-can online concerts, artists can continue to engage with their audiences through social media. Furthermore, artists being able to create, even in the online and isolated space, brings opportunity to producers, managers, publicists, and all those who are a part of the surrounding team.
Those I’ve spoken the past few months are unsure of when the time will come when we can once again be packed like sardines in an arena’s pit. Social media, live streams and recordings will suffice for the meantime, and they’re keeping some artists and teams employed. But, there’s no feeling more exhilarating than when the lights go down, the screams commence, and you see an artist you love and admire in the room with you. There for you. That is the unparalleled joy of live music.
So, as we wait out this period of uncertainty, it’s not necessarily a question of if live music as we know it will ever return, rather a question of when. Once it’s safe, the fans will be there. Until then, we’ll be waiting.