6 Reasons Live Music Will Never Die
In a world where social distancing is now a familiar new normal, we are left questioning what detrimental, long-term effect this will have on the future of live music.
Live music, as we know it, has always been an immersive, inclusive, and adrenaline-fuelling experience. The sensation of being shoulder to shoulder in a crowded room, or knee-deep in mud in the middle of a field is a memory of the past now for many of us.
With the music industry struggling to find its feet again throughout the ongoing pandemic, venues have had to close their doors to the public indefinitely after widespread cancellation. At the peak of the pandemic, nearly half of all music venues across the UK were facing closure and with income sparse, their futures have been placed in our hands.
But despite these awful circumstances, here are 6 reasons WeJam believe that live music will never die!
1. Gigs and festivals are already scheduled for 2021
As local lockdown measures increase throughout the country, the prospect of live music appears seemingly impossible for 2020 as we are told to ‘brace ourselves’ for the winter ahead. Concerts, albeit socially distanced, are unable to continue in parts of England placed under ‘High’, or ‘Very High’, on the Government's new lockdown tier system.
So, does this mean a bleak future lies ahead for live music?
No! Glastonbury 2021 is set to go ahead, with plans to rebook the 2020 bill and move their 50th-anniversary celebration to 2021. But Glastonbury isn’t the only festival that’s committed to a 2021 comeback: Latitude, Reading and Leeds, and Download festival have all got planning underway.
With a positive attitude that we’ll be consuming some form of live music in the very near future and an accompaniment of rocker spirit, live music cannot possibly die.
Music festivals have a culture within themselves. Cultural barriers begin to be eliminated and everyone is brought together. The language becomes one of peace and love, originating right back to an infamous Woodstock festival with a slogan: ‘3 Days of Peace & Music’. Taking place in 1969, the country was submerged into the controversial Vietnam War, of which many opposed. The civil rights movement was taking place causing mass protests in the meantime and Woodstock acted as an opportunity to escape the turmoil, find escape through the music, and promote a message of peace and unity.
2. Our spirit
Historically, we’ve been through worse. Throughout wartime, music was seen as a beacon of hope, played on radios, and blasted as propaganda. ‘Big Band’ music, a combination of Traditional Jazz and Swing, thrived during the early 1940s. These large bands were made up of four sections, saxophones, trombones, trumpets and rhythm. After World War II, many clubs opted to hire smaller bands due to the substantial cost of accommodating these ‘Big Bands’ and therefore lead to the separation of many of the decades most popular groups as they could not sustain a viable tour. However, the genre and the music still thrived after an extremely turbulent period for the world. In the Queen’s most recent address to the nation, she echoed how music can help reflect the ‘World War Two spirit’ and mentioned the title of the popular wartime song “We will meet again” by Vera Lynn.
3. The fans won’t let it
I set the scene; you’re at a concert, it’s your favourite band ready to take centre stage and you’ve been waiting tediously through support acts till they’re up. The lights begin to dim, and you hear that buzz of reverb before the crowd begins to roar behind you and they walk on stage. The rush of adrenaline and an overwhelming feeling of serotonin kicks in when you hear that one song you’ve been playing on repeat, humming in your head, come to life before your eyes.
Live music cannot die, by one thing alone - the fans. Millions upon millions of fans support their favourite artists every single year by investing in the live music industry for that invaluable experience. Live music creates a sense of community. For roughly 90 minutes or so, you and a room full of strangers all share something in common. You’re all in the same place, for the same reason, at the same time. It brings people from all walks of life together, no matter what age, ethnicity, or gender and that is the beautiful thing that live music excels at. Being in that room or field full of strangers is completely different from using popular streaming platforms to listen to your favourite artist. Therefore, when we see the safe reintroduction of live music, people will be hungry to consume it all over again and be able to appreciate the experience even more than in a pre-Covid era.
4. Musicians are continuing to broadcast music into our homes
Throughout the pandemic, musicians have aimed to keep the spirit of not only live music, but music in general alive, by finding remote and innovative ways to bring this to fans. Music for many of us is an escape, whether it acts as a break from your monotonous 9-5 or just some background noise while we multitask.
It’s the musicians that have made themselves most vocal during these hard times that stand out, who just turn on a camera and play some music. Many have taken part in live streams for charities like War Child UK and food bank donations or offered guitar lessons over Zoom to help keep their crew afloat whilst touring isn’t an option.
The concept of a ‘livestreamed-from-home’ concert of course has its limitations. However, it enables artists to find and push boundaries within a creative and business aspect that wouldn’t have been made possible previously. All of these efforts are one that contributes massively to keeping a beloved industry booming throughout this difficult time.
Being able to host a concert face to face, safely abiding by coronavirus measures, was also trialled by self-contained, Indie-rocker, Sam Fender. In the world’s first ‘socially-distanced gig’ at a pop-up venue in Gosforth Park, saw the 2,500-person event sell out in minutes, proving that live music is far from dead. Fans of groups of five were given platforms two meters away from each other accompanied by a one-way system to adhere to coronavirus restrictions. The event was a huge success, although a very different experience of live music took place, it sparks a sense of hope towards the future of live music.
5. Socially distanced concerts are already underway
So, how can live music carry on amidst a global pandemic?
Industries that depend on the large traffic of people or a mass audience, in a reasonably confined space, have had to find a way to continue during the coronavirus outbreak. For example, the production and filming of series or live TV have still gone ahead. To do so, mass testing has been the only option - but at a cost. It’s estimated that roughly 10% of production costs are being spent on testing and other Covid-19 precautions and in turn, largely increasing a series budget.
Live sport for example, has also adopted a mass testing approach. Amongst players, a rigorous screening programme takes place and contact where possible is largely reduced. However, earlier in the year, we saw the government trial small crowds to attend live sporting events once more. Entrances to arenas took up the one-way system, only members of the same household were allowed to be seated next to each other, masks were to be worn and a minimum of two seats between each bubble were implemented.
With those precautions in place, we question whether this could be the route forward for the future of live music and whether this is something we could learn from. By using larger, well ventilated arenas or venues, the amount of fans in one space will be reduced. However, this reaps benefits for fans when wanting a more intimate, live music experience- or even wanting your idol to notice you!
Talks of a rapid self-test in the making are rising, meaning you can perform the Covid-19 test on yourself and get the result in front of you in as little as 15 minutes. This acts as a promising route for the industry. As we know it, a copious security regime is already in place when you’re visiting your favourite arena, ranging from checks for drugs and weapons to bag searches for contraband.
We ask ourself, will the addition of a rapid-turnover Covid-19 test become a new normality? And really there’s no reason why it can’t be.
6. Our determination
With the whole globe having to find a new, altered way of living to continue attending events and meeting friends and family safely, there is no doubt in my mind that the safe return of live music will not do the same. It may not be what we are used to but hope is on the horizon.
The question ‘Will live music die out?’ is one with a very simple answer - no. With copious amounts of dedicated fans and hardworking musicians behind the cause, striving to keep the thrill of live music alive, how could it possibly?
At WeJam we enable everybody to be a live musician, even if they’ve never picked up an instrument before. Book one of our Covid-secure sessions and form a band with your household or support bubble. If you can’t watch your favourite rockstar live right now, why not become one!