The pandemic has already had a monumental impact on the music industry and this looks set to continue with more and more regions in the UK seeing stricter restrictions being implemented. I’m sure there are millions of people up and down the country who, like me, look back now and feel that they took live music for granted and would do anything to have it back the way it was. The unfortunate reality is that a realistic solution doesn’t seem to be round the corner and venues, crews, promoters, musicians and everyone else involved in the live music industry needs as much support as possible right now. Below are five ways we can help to support music venues:
1. Buy tickets to gigs
With bands being forced to postpone gigs multiple times and announce tours far into the future, a lot of people may feel initially sceptical about buying tickets to gigs. This is one of the easiest ways to support venues though. Buying gig tickets is something we were all used to doing before the pandemic and something we should continue to do as much as possible. In some cases tickets prices may be higher than they normally would be, but this is for good reason and ticket sales will be going a long way for music venues and musicians right now.
2. Donate to charities
Donating is one of the more inexpensive ways we can provide support and there is a whole host of charities out there raising money specifically to support music venues. The Music Venue Trust, whose aim is to support Grassroots music venues, seems to be one of the more popular charities and has a lot of really helpful information on their website about their mission and how to donate – http://www.musicvenuetrust.com. I would also encourage you to follow #wemakeevents and #saveourvenues (launched by the Music Venue Trust).
3. Live streams
I’ve found live streams to be one of the more difficult options to get on board with, but given the circumstances I completely understand artists need to do what they need to do and I would imagine live streams from an actual venue not only gives the viewer/listener a more enhanced experience but provides a more instant source of revenue for venues too compared to 2021 gigs. With the right sound system and TV setup these streams have a lot of potential, and there are a few live streams coming up that sound great: Architects at the Royal Albert Hall, Nothing But Thieves Live at the Warehouse, and Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes at Brixton Academy.
4. Social media
Social media has changed the way we send and receive information – news, politics, sport, music, everything. There are two key ways we can use social media to support music venues – the first is to follow their social media accounts. By doing this we can more easily find out what events venues are holding, what merch they are selling, and which charities they are linked to. The other is to spread the word – if there is an upcoming event your friends or family might be interested in, share it on social media. If you come across a charity that supports music venues, share a link to their funding page or website. If any musicians you follow are holding live streams or playing gigs at a music venue, tell people about it!
5. Contact your local venues
This is not something I’ve tried before, but something that I’m sure could help smaller venues in particular – reach out to them. Contact them via email, phone, social media, whatever way is easiest. Venues may post everything they have to offer on social media, but there’s a chance they may not or you might have missed something. Contact them and see what you can do to help. They may ask you to sign up to a newsletter, to donate to a particular charity they’re linked to, or to share upcoming gigs or live streams they’re hosting.
That brings us to the end of this article but not to the end of the ways you can support music venues. There are many other things we can do, such as contacting our local MP, but the above should be a good start! I also recognise the importance in practicing what I preach – I admit I could have done a lot more to support venues over the past six months, but I know that writing this article will encourage me to show more support. It is vital that live music can happen again in the future the way it used to, and in the venues we all know and love. Who knows when we will be in a situation where the virus no longer restricts live music the way it is at the moment, but when we are get out of this situation it is vital that music venues are still around to host live music.