The storm of the Coronavirus has affected a wide range of industries, including music festivals and the artists who were set to perform at them.
Due to global lockdown measures, public gatherings have been banned in a number of different countries. This has forced music venues and festival sites to close their doors and cancel plans at least for the summer months. [Editor: keep on top of the latest UK coronavirus event cancellations here]
These measures are for a very good reason and are part of the wider effort to flatten the curve of infection and to keep people like you and me safer.
However, if you’re like me, looking ahead to a summer with no festivals will evoke feelings of mass distress. These feelings are mutual with the festival organisers and performers due to the huge economic impact of cancelling the entire peak season for this industry.
Just how much is Coronavirus affecting the music industry
A recent survey conducted by the UK’s music managers forum (MMF) and the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has found that so far, the nation-wide quarantine has resulted in a £50 million loss in revenues for musicians and managers. This is based on more than 2,100 cancelled shows in the UK.
If this industry continues to face further cancellations over the next six months, it is predicted to reach as high as £68 million in loss of earnings.
In Australia, according to I Lost My Gig Australia and at the time of this posting, the cancellation of both big and small shows across the country have resulted in a loss of $330million Aussie dollars from the wallets of managers, performers and venue hosts.
The US, who you can always rely on to trump the rest of the world’s financial figures, is predicting billions of dollars in loss of revenue from DIY acts to major headliners.
How well is the music industry adapting to change amid the Coronavirus crisis?
COVID-19 is certainly having a devastating financial impact across the worlds music industry, however, the worlds musicians, fans and event organisers have been forced to get creative and make something of this unusual situation.
Is autumn the new summer?
With governments predicting that social distancing and global lockdown measures are likely to carry on for about 6 months, summer festivals are pretty much ruled out.
However, Coachella is leading the way with keeping the 2020 musical festival dream alive. They were the first to receive approval to move the festival dates to October which has inspired other festivals to try and do the same.
It is unlikely that any line-up will remain intact with a move from summer to autumn because of the other commitments many of the headline acts will have. Nevertheless, the thought of being able to party and dance to some of our favourite acts after being in lockdown for 6 months is a warming one.
Hopefully, the world’s music festival organisers follow Coachella’s lead and rearrange our favourite festivals for the autumn season. It might be a challenge for those festivals hosted in parts of the world where autumn can be very wet and a bit cold, but I think people would put up with getting wet after being indoors for so long!
At the moment there hasn’t been any news or plans for European festivals to move to autumn so for now, we will just have to think about the ones that are already planned for the autumn months.
Virtual concerts keep spirits high
While musicians might be struggling to line their own pockets, the boom of virtual concerts has been really successful in raising money for COVID-19 charity funds and giving fans their fix of live music. They have even been generating crowds far larger than is possible for any live gig.
iHeart Living Room Concert for America
Attracting over 8.7 million viewers the iHeart living room concert saw a list of celebrity musicians like Elton John, Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl and Billie Eilish perform concerts live-streamed from their living rooms. The event managed to raise over $8 million for the charities Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Jack Johnson Instagram live for Global Citizen
Jack Johnson, Chris Martin and lots of other amazing artists performed live concerts from their own homes to raise awareness for Global Citizen’s #togetherathome campaign. The campaign racked up over a million views and through the global citizen’s website has given out some useful information on how fans can protect themselves against COVID-19 and debunked some of the common myths.
DJ EZ 24 hour set for My Kind Deed
DJ EZ is a man with incredible DJing stamina and a song library to match it. On the 28th March 2020 he completed another 24-hour set, this time in conjunction with My Kind Deed. The event was hosted across multiple media channels with the aim to bring some hope and togetherness in this difficult time. It reached over 40 million people across the 24-hour set which has surely got to be one of the biggest live audiences ever?
Yungblud studio concert
Yungblud was one of the many artists to cancel their shows because of the coronavirus. However, he was determined to not let it stop him performing for his followers, so instead hosted ‘The Yungblood Show’ from his studio in Los Angeles. From a makeshift stage, Yungblud hosted 500,000 people throughout a quirky concert. One of his fans even designed a ticket for others to print out and keep with their other real tickets as a memento.
Final thoughts on how coronavirus is affecting music festivals in 2020
Although it’s almost certain that few of us are going to be able to attend a summer music festival in 2020 and many of our favourite acts are going to suffer from a tough financial year, the ingenuity of this creative industry offers some hope.
With the potential of autumn being the new summer in 2020, we may still be able to get our festival fix, just much later in the year than usual. Until we are allowed out to play again, we are going to have to rely on virtual contact with our favourite musicians.
Live streaming offers something similar to live music because we can watch artists perform in real-time. Even though the sound will not be as great from your laptop speaker, we will get to see how artists react to this unique situation and hear the lyrics and melody’s inspired by a global lockdown.