A couple of months ago, we published an article concerning the future of the live music scene, with a focus on the ever-growing use of technology. Since then, a lot has changed for the industry. With the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign is forever growing, alongside advice from the government constantly changing, the live scene has been considerably unsettled. So, we have to ask the question: are live shows dead? And the answer, at the time of writing this, is no.
With drive-in and socially distanced gigs in the works, the live music scene is certainly still alive. The government is currently trialling live shows inside various venues, and it is impossible to predict what will come of this. Since we have to wear masks when shopping, but can go without one in a pub, where do venues fall into these rulings?
One of the first socially distanced gigs to take place happened in a Newcastle Park, headlined by Sam Fender. When pictures surfaced of the set-up, it caused a lot of disagreement online. Unlike what we have been used to for our whole lives, the audience were separated on various podiums, all allowing up to five people on each. These podiums were distanced apart, which meant that the capacity for the gig was significantly less than any outdoor show would’ve held last year.
Online, the audience set-up was treated a lot like Marmite. Some loved it, whilst others hated it. Some people claimed that it would ruin the communal feeling of watching a live show amongst hundreds of music fans, whilst others claimed that it’s what they had dreamed of for years. If you suffer from a fear of crowds, claustrophobia, or you’ve had some unfortunate experiences within big crowded events in the past, this new socially distanced set-up is certainly ideal. Also, it’s a lot more accessible for disabled individuals.
But if you have to be distanced and wear a mask, is the show still worth it? Or do live shows get their thrill from being around others at close contact, enjoying the music together? It’s something that has divided live music fans over recent months.
So, the live show certainly isn’t dead. But it has been altered, and will undoubtedly be continually altered for the future, likely even after a vaccine has been discovered. We need to get used to these changes and remember to support independent venues – they need the help the most. Below are some useful links for donations: