Where do you start eh? I’ve held off writing anything for a while on this subject as the effects of Covid19 on venues, festivals, promoters, the arts and musicians has being almost too devastating to address. All are now facing a precarious future after the impact of the pandemic continues to devastate the scene. All industry’s have been affected, but its undeniable that the music industry has taken the biggest hit. Live performance revenue has been the biggest casualty which generates £5.2bn for the UK economy and a further £2.7bn in export revenues. It is now facing substantial losses with 90% of venues and festivals at risk of permanent closure. On Thursday hundreds of musicians and industry workers put their support behind a new petition demanding the British government save the live music industry. The Let the Music Play campaign is attempting to save live music businesses including venues, artists, productions companies, concerts and festivals and more areas of the cultural sector by calling on the government for help after the lockdown put thousands out of work.
What can you do?
On Wednesday 8 July Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP will deliver a Summer Economic Update.
The first and MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do is write to your local MP and ask them call on the Chancellor to support Let The Music Play our very own Matt Dagger has made a template which you can download here.
You can find your local MP here.
I’d like to continue this article now on what simple things bands and music lovers can do themselves to help…
Bands put on live shows, fans watch them!
A note for bands, there is still a huge amount of your audience at home and living on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter even though restrictions are easing. It’s still a prime opportunity to engage with your fans and reach new ones. Going live can be intimidating, I know, it isn’t my favourite but practise makes perfect and if you don’t start you’ll never master it. Engage with your audience by asking questions between songs and encourage people to comment in the live stream. Don’t worry about letting people know or inviting them to watch, we are living in extraordinary circumstances our audience is likely to understand and want to help and support you. It really is about adjusting to the current times and using it to your advantage. Try Instagram IGTV or Live, Facebook Live or consider a live show at onlocation.com where you can also charge for tickets.
Don’t be afraid to get creative, create an eye catching back drop and get you’re personality across in the best way you can. The K’s are a perfect example of mixing things up and have earlier in lockdown done a regular live stream ‘Friday Night With The K’s‘ that attracted hundreds of viewers. This Feeling and Scott’s Menswear have done weekly Lounges with many artists like The Velvet Hands, Trampolene and this weekend Planet. Check out Scott’s IGTV here to watch.
MMTV in Manchester is another show I recommend with interviews with bands, live music and more visit their Facebook here for links to watch.
We have also done some sessions with The Lapels and Matthew Holland on our Instagram IGTV watch here.
Tour Toura Ltd have also done some fantastic Q&A’s online through OnLocationLive with the most recent one being a live chat with Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan. Fans were then able to purchase tickets to have a live 1-2-1 chat with Tom that was incredible! Keep up-to-date with their announcements here.
When gigging does resume, buy a ticket and help them pack out the venue…
I don’t know about you but when I see that notification pop on Facebook that I should of been at a gig or festival, my heart sinks. As usual I’ve got to be honest, I’ve seen promoters rearranging gigs for as early as August and while no one wants that more than me, I personally still think its a little premature. HOWEVER, tickets can always be rescheduled and refunded so I guess why not? New ideas are consistently appearing with the UK’s first socially distanced music venue is set to open in Newcastle this summer. The Virgin Money Unity Arena, which is set to open at Newcastle Racecourse, will allow fans to enjoy live music for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began (Read more over at NME here).
Buy merch from the artist’s online store or invest in some prints from photographers.
Merch is a considerable part of a musician’s income. It has always been massively important to support bands in this way and even though we aren’t able to visit the merch stand at our favourite venues you can still purchase from the band direct! Photography is the same, many photographers are back working for socially distanced band shoots, some also sell their art and need the support right now. Check out A Supreme Shot, Desh Hamilton Kapur, Sinead Ferguson, Mal Whichelow and Barnaby Fairley to name a few for band shoots and prints.
Listen to new music!
Loads of bands have released new music throughout lockdown with many describing it as the perfect opportunity to write and get creative. Check out and buy where you can new music from The Lathums, Cruel Hearts Club, Bang Bang Romeo, Trampolene, Blue River, Himalayas, The Velvet Hands, Red Rum Club, Dirty Laces, Kyhmer Kings, Nobodies Birthday, Argh Kidd and Garden Party. There are so many bands releasing new music follow us, This Feeling on Twitter to keep up-to-date with new releases. This Feeling also have a great playlist here.
Share bands, promoters, photographers, bloggers, artists, mags etc posts.
A band’s social media plays a huge role in promoting their reputation as a group and growing their fan base. I know some musicians and fans have a deep-seated fear of annoying their Facebook friends as we probably don’t know 50% of the people on there personally. While I’m not saying hammer it to point people remove you, the occasional share here and there of a band you think is decent isn’t going to hurt anyone. If you are in to music and are in it for the right reasons, they get it and an invite or requesting a share isn’t going to curdle anyone’s milk on their cornflakes.
Try these hints and tips to help on social media.
- Following a band, promoter, venue, photographer on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram? Like their posts as they pop up. With social media’s new algorithms, interaction and engagement with these pages are really important.
- Feeling really dangerous? Let your hair down a bit and comment on posts or share them.
- You could also invite your friends list to ‘like’ the page. Go on, spread a little positive karma in these unprecedent times.
- Send your favourite band a message, you might not always get a reply but its appreciated more than you know.
Don’t forget our music artists!
One last thing… Be kind…
I’ve seen some things online about social distancing and bands rehearsing, filming videos and shows, doing photography that have quite disturbed me. What people are failing to realise is that working within the music scene, whether that be as a musician, photographer, promoter or roadie, the work is nine times out of ten freelance and work has all but come to a halt due to the rapid global spread of the coronavirus. I am quite upset to have come across individuals attacking myself and friends for doing work now restrictions are easing. Anyone who watches any form of entertainment or sport is in absolutely no position to criticise creative people who are attempting to get back to work whilst adhering to social distancing measures. If you have an opinion, do everyone a favour and keep it to yourself as everyone is struggling got get used to the new ‘normal’ so think twice before judging others.
As we wait things out, if we’re not careful, there may not be a live scene left when the pandemic is over. It really is about joining together now more than ever to help one another all across the board. The unsigned music industry is used to things being an uphill battle but Covid-19 has literally turned the lights off overnight. No genre is safe, no one starting out or at the top of their game is protected from the fallout.
Please help save our scene by doing all you can to support it.
Do you have any other ideas? Please leave a comment we’d love to hear them.
HEADER IMAGE: SINEAD FERGUSON