Hello, Good Evening, and Remain Mindful of Social Distancing Protocols! Or just Remain Indoors if you’re in an area that’s gone back into lockdown. Since new cases of COVID are currently spiking, with an all-time number of new cases sprouting up in late October, with a promise of more to come [note: on October 31 alone, slightly less than 600,000 new cases were reported worldwide, with 21,915 coming from the UK and 84,235 from the US], England has recently gone back into lockdown, with plans announced on Halloween and coming into effect at midnight on November 5th. It is tenatively set to end on December 2.
And, of course, one of the overarching themes in music this year, or at least my articles, involves the many, MANY, venues that have been put into jeopardy since shit got real, even venues as famous as The Cavern Club and The Royal Albert Hall. During the lockdown, bars, pubs, restaurants, and other nonessential retail stores were forced to close, and even after that, the measures in place to keep the spread of COVID in check forced them to operate at such a small scale that many are having trouble staying afloat.
On November 2, however, Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sports, decided to start up a Twitter thread answered some questions. And one particularly intrigued me:
Q: Can arts venues open for rehearsals and to stream performances?
A: Yes. Arts venues are places of work, so people can come into them for work, if it cannot be undertaken from home. This includes rehearsals and performance. Audiences are not permitted.
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) November 2, 2020
Of course, several artists (Billie Eilish and Sleaford Mods, to name just two) have started to livestream concerts because doing a proper tour is not really an option.
Imagine if the Stones were actually able to be together, and Charlie was actually able to drum (and not relegated to air drumming with a pre-recorded track), well, this could actually happen, even if, that said, the four are no doubt scattered across multiple countries and unable to actually do a proper livestreamed concert without staying in quarantine for two weeks.
And with the fate of many people in the industry in the balance, to the extent that 64% of Britain’s musicians are seriously considering leaving the business, what with the whole “hemorrhaging money more than usual” thing, one solution is staring me straight in the face: artists have started to livestream performances in lieu of proper gigs; venues are losing money, but are allowed to host gigs as long as there’s no live audience, Benefit concerts and charity streams are a thing. So, why not take these potential live-streamed gigs and use them as fundraisers to keep these venues and their employees financially afloat so that, once the pandemic’s finally over, these places can remain functional? This seems like a great solution, even if it’s not exactly perfect and the pandemic may drag on, and if there isn’t some problem that I’m not seeing, I’d like to see this happen.
And hopefully, this lockdown won’t need to spread to Illinois,