Many business areas were hit hard by the pandemic – but music was affected more than most. How is the music industry coping now with the return of live music?
The first thing to be said about the return of live music after the global pandemic has to be that the virus is still around. As much as everyone has been getting very excited about live shows and gigs for the first time in two years, new variants and strains continue to take their toll on the live music industry.
But there is optimism. Tickets for the big festivals and small town gigs have been impressive – and back to the levels of the pre-pandemic era. Just like the record interest in online sports betting in California has experienced in the last few years, the music industry is now beginning to find its feet again. But can we now say that live music has returned?
Don’t Call it a Come Back
One of the most high-profile festivals opened its gates for the first time in three years recently when Coachella returned with a bang. The biggest names in pop relished the chance to play in front of huge crowds of fans in the Indio desert once again. Over 125,000 people a day were able to catch the likes of Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and The Weeknd play live.
One of the main reasons for the success of the Coachella festival was that the organizers had lifted all COVID-related restrictions. This meant that it must have felt like the old times to all the fans and bands at the show. But the growth rate of infection among festival-goers might cause the optimism levels to wane a bit.
Although it has to be a good sign that so many people are willing to attend these events after the last few years, if there is still a health risk, it must be questioned whether the events should be held at all.
Bands Feel the Blues Too
It is not just festival and gig-goers that have been coming down with COVID symptoms. There have been countless examples of bands having to hurriedly cancel or postpone gigs after falling ill themselves. The frustration is obvious for musicians who have been waiting so long for the chance to play live – only to have to go back to square one.
It is understandable that fans and musicians alike would rather not wear masks at indoor or outdoor venues. But if new strains of the coronavirus are still making the rounds, is this something that has to be at least considered? The alternative would be going back to shutting the doors and waiting for the virus to disappear completely – and that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.
Money, Money, Money
The enthusiasm shown for the return of live music has been incredible. Although there are understandable safety concerns on behalf of everyone involved, it does seem as though we are coming through the worst of it.
Ticket sales have been very encouraging and that only is only set to get better as the rest of 2022 progresses. But there is always the question about what is the best thing to do for the public and artists alike. Live music experiences are obviously something very important for millions of people worldwide. But any responsible fan, musician or promoter must realize that there needs to be a safe experience for everyone.
Different countries and states will have different regulations and restrictions for a while, so that has to be taken into account too. We should also be ready for the late-notice postponements of gigs for a while to come.
The Future of Live Music
As much as the return of the big events such as Coachella is encouraging for the industry, there is a caveat to the positive response. COVID is not going away, so we need to be ready for changes to the way we enjoy live music. By understanding that we all need to work together, we can make sure that everything does actually get back to ‘normal’ sooner rather than later.
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