In these unpredictable times the worldwide cancellations of events have spread far and wide, affecting all areas of our lives. One area that, of course has been hit hard is the entertainment industry, with music festivals, gigs, award ceremonies, from village feasts to national theatre events and concerts all cancelled indefinitely. Glastonbury was forced to adopt a ‘fallow year’ with their 50th anniversary line up, one of the festival highlights which now attracts over 200,000 festival goers, cancelled and losing potentially in excess of £100 million. Tickets can be refunded or transferred to next year but not so straight forward for the artists involved. These cancellations not only have a huge impact on the festival organisers but naturally on the artists who were due to appear, many of whom may have been relying on these events to promote their new singles or albums.
COVID-19 is also having a hugely detrimental effect on small record labels and booking agents who have now lost their main source of income and risk going under, with companies like Live Nation who are now really struggling. It’s also very clear that people organising concerts really don’t know what people will be like after lockdown ends; whether they will want to jump straight back into going to crowded gigs or whether people will get used to spending the majority of their time at home and be less inclined to want to go to lots of events.
The story is the same worldwide, Italian singer and songwriter Vina Rose, who now lives in London, is another artist whose year has been thrown in turmoil due to the virus. Promoting her latest EP, ‘Crossroads’, Vina Rose was due to fly to Italy to perform at a gala and receive an award for her career in her home city of Catania in Sicily at the Theatre Massimo Bellini. She also had two important gigs planned for mid May in Russia at The Rostov State Musical Theatre where her performance with a large orchestra has also been cancelled. Vina is determined to keep positive though, ‘It’s now clear that musicians aren’t going to be able to rely on live performances to make money until this pandemic is under control, so the best thing we can do it to continue to stay active online and engaging with people on social media, I’ll use this time to be creative and think about what I want to experiment with musically. But we are creative people, we are resourceful, we have a strong backbone of art! That’s going to carry us’
Norwich and London based band Millie Manders & the Shutup have also seen their plans for the year turned upside down. With a UK tour planned in April unable to go ahead, the band were gutted. However, this hasn’t stopped Millie and her bandmates from getting their music out to the world ahead of album release in October, while also thinking of others in these difficult times. The most recently released single ‘Silent Screams’ from the band encompassed themes of struggling with mental health issues, which the band members are all too familiar with. With the release came exclusive merchandise, of which £5 from each sale the band are donating to mental health charities Mind and Papyrus. With Mental Health Awareness Week on the horizon, and the extra support many are needing right now, we take our hats off the Millie Manders and the Shutup. Limited Edition Silent Scream Merchandise is now available – £5 from each sale will go to both Mind and Papyrus , charities dedicated to helping people of all ages with mental health difficulties. Keep your eyes peeled for Millie Manders & the Shutup’s next single ‘Your Story’ coming out in early June – we only hope we can get back to seeing these guys perform live soon!
Another artist effected by not only lockdown but the potential travel restrictions which may stay in place for the rest of the year is London based electronic four piece Empathy Test. Having already had to postpone and cancel a number of shows in the UK but also in Europe and in the US, the band have a new album coming out this month and are set to tour Germany in September to support the release. As things progress however and the tour looms closer and closer, it is looking more and more likely that they will have to postpone and reschedule for next year.
But all is not lost! There may be no live events and constant social distancing for some time but this lends itself to the perfect opportunity to promote your bands and music with constructive & exciting campaigns. It’s time to think imaginatively and maximise the power of PR & Marketing. Everyone is desperate to listen to, read about and indulge in as much music as they can and through social media, radio, TV and press features. Planning for the future with music campaigns and looking forward to the time we can all get back to events is exciting – they will be bigger and better than ever when we back giving all artists the opportunity to come back with a huge bang!