All around the world, we are seeing live music events get canceled and negatively affected by the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), which was officially classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
Mass gatherings like concerts and festivals are rapidly being affected by the spread of COVID-19 as lawmakers and event promoters increasingly question their safety and viability. Dozens of large-scale festivals including Coachella, SXSW, and Ultra have already announced cancellations or postponements and hundreds of concerts and tours both large and small have already begun rescheduling to later in the year. It is not unlikely that, in the coming days and weeks, we may see many more gigs get disrupted by the coronavirus.
While it surely is a travesty that 2020’s euphonic gatherings are being affected, it is important to keep in mind that health and safety do take priority and that this will not be the end of touring as we know it. So, while we wash our hands and wait out the outbreak, we have compiled a list of things you can be doing to continue supporting your favorite bands while they take a quick set break, rehearse for their rescheduled dates, and hopefully hit the studio to create something new during their unscheduled time off.
TUNE IN TO THEIR OTHER SHOWS
With plenty of cities and towns calling for a hiatus on large gatherings, fans can take a seat for a some “couch tour” and catch many of their favorite acts hitting the stage in less-affected areas where shows may still go on. Phil Lesh, The Revivalists, and many more are set to livestream their shows in the coming weeks while thousands of other previous shows from a multitude of your favorite artists are always available online via platforms like nugs and Stingray Qello. Just because the local concert hall has shuttered temporarily does not mean that the music has to stop.
EXPLORE THE LINEUPS
Take some time to read through the festival lineups and check out some new tunes! It does suck that your Torchy’s tacos may have to wait for your next trip to Austin due to the cancellation of SXSW, but it is important to remember that many artists just may have missed their big shot, too. Festival season is not just the time for you to catch your favorite headliner in an open field while sipping an overpriced beer. It is also one of the only times that rising artists get a shot at playing in front of crowds hundreds of times bigger than those they usually see at their shows. Be sure to not let what could be your next favorite band miss their opportunity to get in your ears. Run through the lineups of canceled festivals or use the extra time to explore the rescheduled ones and rewrite your plan of attack come door time.
BUY SOME MERCH
We all can agree that Pearl Jam and Santana will be okay financially after having to reschedule their upcoming tours to later in the year. Smaller acts, however, may not be so lucky. It is no secret that many artists live gig-to-gig, relying on ticket sales and their merch booths to cover their living expenses. Now is the perfect time to grab that tote, snag that limited-edition vinyl you’ve been eyeing, or pick up a new t-shirt to rock in the front row when they return to town—all while helping them keep food on the table during this unanticipated touring intermission.
KEEP YOUR TICKETS
It surely is looking scary out there right now, but this isn’t the rapture (unless you’re listening to Blondie while you work from home). With toilet paper flying off the shelves faster than people with bidets can tweet about it, we are starting to see a large number of events reschedule.
Many (though not all) of these events will offer refunds. Don’t take them. Now, we understand that times are tough and that hot ticket you bought a few months ago to a now-postponed show may feel a little stale, but in many cases, the show will still go on as soon as it’s safe. Your local venues and promoters, however, still have to keep the lights on until the outbreak is contained.
Ticket sales don’t just go toward covering the band’s fees. They often pay the salaries of the soundboard operators, lighting riggers, tour managers, that friendly barmaid who gives you a free drink ticket because she likes your dance moves, and about a hundred thousand other people worldwide. Keeping that ticket at the ready could allow for your favorite band to be back on the road sooner than expected.
LISTEN, EXPLORE, AND SHARE
We live in the golden age of content with more access to our favorite acts than ever before. Take advantage of that. Many of our favorite artists have more music videos, album cuts, and covers than we could ever imagine. Now, we have a chance to dive in while we wait for their new show dates to be rescheduled. Take some time off from watching that one live video you’ve had on repeat for three months and explore some of the deeper cuts you may have missed from acts of all sizes.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to share! We all now have the perfect opportunity to introduce our friends and family to that band whose show was supposed to be tomorrow but now isn’t for a few more months. Hit “play,” hit “share,” and head to the next show with some newly minted fans when the music comes back to the stage in the not-so-distant future.
It’s a total bummer to see 2020 start in such an unstable and tumultuous fashion. There’s no way around it. We feel you. But panicking about it won’t make it any better. Times like these are what music is made for—it’s an escape from our surroundings for a few minutes, an embodiment of how we are feeling during these unsteady times, a reminder of how good we can feel at the best of times. Keep on listening, keep on supporting your favorites, keep on loving music. It will be live again before you know it.