The live music industry has suffered more than most since the pandemic started. Every time it looks like they can find ways to open safely again, the country is thrown back into lockdown and we find ourselves right back at square one.
We’ll be back at gigs one day, but until then the community needs to stick together and support independent venues and artists until that day comes. Here are some ways to support the seen in 2021:
It sounds simple but it’s one of the most important things you can do. Streaming is great – it can introduce you to new artists and give them exposure that was much harder to get before the days of Spotify and Apple Music. But more and more artists are being open about how much streaming actually contributes to their earnings – and it’s basically nothing. Buying music straight from the artist allows them to access more of their income. It could be a good excuse to start that vinyl collection you’ve always wanted, or simply getting a digital download to show your support. You can buy music directly from the artist or from platforms like Bandcamp, which frequently hold events and sales where the artists get 100% of the profits.
Keep Buying Tickets
It might seem counterproductive to buy tickets for gigs that you know in your heart just won’t go ahead, but it helps venues more than you’d think. In a recent Facebook post, independent venue The 1865 in Southampton said: “Every single ticket you buy helps us through such difficult times and you are either guaranteed entry to the gig when we can finally open or a refund if it can’t happen. If we have to find a new date for any of them we will also refund the tickets if you can’t make the new date so there really is nothing to lose!” So keep living in hope that these shows will go ahead!
Donate and Share Crowdfunders
Although government aid was crucial for the survival of a lot of grassroots venues, there are still a lot out there who are struggling. The Music Venue Trust has listed venues across the country that still need your help. The Trust has a central crowdfunder to save these at-risk venues. NME have links to individual venue campaigns, and it’s worth checking out your favourite grassroots venue to see if they have their own fundraiser. We’ve already seen a massive difference, with over a dozen venues already removed from the critical list – but the fight isn’t over yet. Even if you aren’t in a position to donate yourself, sharing these posts and fundraisers is so important.
This goes for both venues and artists. Without touring, even the bigger bands are losing a massive amount of their income. Show support by sporting your favourite band on a T-shirt. It’s a win-win situation – the artist gets a bit of cash, and you get to gush about them every time someone asks about your new shirt! Artists have been getting really creative this year, with rock band Creeper even releasing their own condoms for Valentine’s Day!
Use your refunds
If you do have tickets for a show that got cancelled, and you’re in the financial position to do so, consider giving the refunded money back to the artist or venue through merch, donations or any of the ways listed above. Independent artists and local music scenes are a community above all else, and it’s time for us to stand up and show our support!
Image courtesy of BRUNO EMMANUELLE.