This week’s news has featured a number of headlines related to Covid19, ranging from AEGs announcements of its intention to make some staff redundant, Travis McCready performing America’s first post lockdown gig, Eventbrite being sued as a result of its refund policies, to the ominous news by the Musicians Union, who predict that the majority of the UKs theaters and music venues face shut down as a direct result of the pandemic. Out of these headlines, the Eventbrite one is interesting, in as much that it relates to the terms and conditions of ticket purchase and if a gig has been ‘cancelled’ or postponed’. The latter of course, despite being effectively cancelled, can be an ugly loophole if you can’t make the replacement gig. In Wales, I am pleased to say that St David’s Hall in Cardiff acted very honorably to me recently, when a recent George Benson gig was postponed 12 months – but I still was offered a refund due to not being able to make the rescheduled performance.
The Travis McCready gig was also interesting, despite being a bit of a publicity stunt, gave an eerie indication of what post lock down gigs could look like – with concert arenas half empty and most importantly – with no atmosphere. This mixture of how to ensure live music remains financially sustainable and an enjoyable cultural experience is going to be something that is an ongoing debate. Indeed this was a topic of conversation at a session I attended yesterday on ‘the future of live music, which can we watched here
The event featured Peter Hook from New Order, record producer Graham Massey and Teresa Moore from A Greener Festival, and I have to say – it was very informative. The conversations started with dialogue surrounding the environmental impact of festivals and music touring that was starting to take place pre lockdown. The presenters noted how the massive amount of CO2 being produced by the live music industry relied on organisers having a ‘social responsibility’, which was most notably brought to the public’s awareness by Coldplay’s announcement to stop touring last year. Put simply, as the live music industry has grown over the last decade or so – so has its negative environmental impact, so the question asked was – how do we get a balance between growing live music infrastructures and considering environmental responsibilities – it is a difficult mix which A Greener Festival were/are attempting to navigate (Teresa Moore noted the importance of ensuring one does not grow at the expense of the other). Covid19 has of course blown all of this debate open – so maybe this is an opportune time to consider these issues from the ground up?
One piece of good news announced this week by the Music Managers Forum is a new fund (managed by Help Musicians UK and aided by donations from PPL and a number of leading artist managers), targeted toward supporting music managers suffering from the impacts of Covid19. Many artist managers are noted as being in the unusual position of not being eligible for existing support packages – as they can’t self-furlough due to their responsibilities to their clients, despite being significantly impacted by the lack of live work their artists are now undertaking. The scheme is entitled ReBuild and more details can be found here.
That’s it, my hour is up. I will finish by copying below a couple of interesting links – the first concerning the prospects for gigging musicians as lockdown begins to ease and the 2nd more relevant to the academic world, a call from the Post Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme, announced this week, can be found here
In the academic world, details of the