COVID-19 and Live Music: the way ahead for the gigging musician

Lockdown Muse

Picture the scene. It’s June 2021 and two musicians bump into each other in the street. One is a modestly talented semi-professional whose performance prospects generally extend no further than the odd pub gig. The other is an internationally renowned classical recitalist who regularly criss-crosses the globe from Berlin to Baltimore, Turin to Tokyo, on a seemingly endless string of concert hall appearances. Normally these two performers might have precious little in common, save that they occupy the same business. At polar opposites career-wise, they might have even less to discuss, only now – in the summer following ‘the year that never was’ – they can happily gab away comparing notes on how Covid-19, Social Distancing and the necessities of lockdown derailed their respective datesheets.

‘So what did you do last summer?’, the first musician asks.

‘Nothing,’ the second replies. ‘There were no gigs.’

‘Snap!’

‘Awful, wasn’t it?’

‘Yes, I thought I might never work again.’

‘Me too. There was a terrible moment when I thought that that was it and I’d have to go and – you know – do all that for the rest of my days.’

‘All that? You mean go and get a ‘day job’?’

‘No. Spend my life trying to convince people that performing remotely is a substitute for the real thing.’

They both laugh.

‘Yes, there was a moment, wasn’t there? Can you imagine if that had happened? Just think of what we’d have all lost…’

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