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Concert Venues: It Will Take Unprecedented Support to Weather Pandemic


Concert Venues: It Will Take Unprecedented Support to Weather Pandemic

From selling merch to asking for donations, concert venues get creative to stay afloat

What started as a few postponed shows, now has concert venues canceling entire seasons of performances.

Concert venues that used to ring with sweet melodies, vibrations from heavy drums, and everything in between now stand silent, as large gatherings are banned amid the global health crisis.

But many are getting creative to stay afloat, while staying connected to fans. And the most hopeful are looking toward what it will take to reopen safely.

packed venue with people in Minneapolis
A packed First Avenue in Minneapolis before the coronavirus lockdowns. [Photo Courtesy of First Avenue]

Livestream concerts

Even as the number of coronavirus cases begins to trend downward, large gatherings are still banned. But that doesn’t mean that the music has stopped.

Many artists are taking their performances online. Now instead of cramming into concert halls, music lovers can enjoy performances from the comfort of their own homes.

Venues are also getting in on the idea by still promoting their events, but offering them as a livestream instead.

Of course, it’s not the same as attending a live event. Unless you’ve got a sweet sound system, you won’t get the same feel of the music pulsing through your body. And you won’t feel the excitement generated by hundreds of people all enjoying the same beat together. But it’s one option to scratch your live music itch.

Support your favorite concert venues

About 800 independent venues have joined together to form the National Independent Venue Association. Disproportionately affected by the lockdowns, they drafted a letter to Congress asking for aid in the form of tax relief, forgivable loans, and a business recovery fund.

“Our passionate and fiercely independent operators are not ones to ask for handouts,” Dayna Frank, NIVA Board President and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis, says in an open letter. “But because of our unprecedented, tenuous position, for the first time in history, there is legitimate fear for our collective existence.”

As national leaders work to address the big picture, there are things fans can do to support their local concert venues.

Yes, events at the big concert venues are canceled for the next month or more. But many are giving their patrons opportunities to make sure they make it through these uncertain times.

For example, First Avenue, a concert venue in Minneapolis, has partnered with Vans to create a limited-edition T-shirt. “Net proceeds go directly to the club. Thanks to Vans for their amazing idea and their continued support!” First Avenue posted on Instagram.

The convert venue is also selling a colorful puzzle of downtown Minneapolis, a musically themed coloring book, plus hats, socks and other merchandise. Their merch page also gives supporters a chance to buy a gift card or donate through a virtual tip jar.

exterior shot of concert venue first avenue in Minneapolis
Prince played his first show at First Avenue in Minneapolis in 1981. [Photo courtesy of First Avenue]

Wolf Trap, a favorite outdoor music venue among those living in and around Washington, DC, announced last week that it is canceling its entire 2020 season. But, they’re asking fans of the concert venue to continue to support their work. In addition to hosting big-name performers, Wolf Trap also runs an education and community outreach programs.

“While our stages are temporarily dark, our work continues, and philanthropy has never been more critical to our mission. The Music Moves Us Fund will support our groundbreaking education and community initiatives, promote next-generation artists, and strengthen operations to ensure a future of music for all.”

Wolf Trap is also offering livestream opera performances. Get comfy on the couch and watch full performances here.

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Concerts After the Lockdowns

Once things start opening up and live events become feasible again, expect to see a few changes.

Concert goers may need to submit to temperature checks at the door, certain seats or even rows may be blocked off to keep people at a distance from one another. And certainly, mosh pits will be a no-no.

Looking to the Future

The coronavirus has us all reeling. In the music industry, venue owners and artists alike are scrambling to deal with the fall out and doing all they can to stay financially afloat.

Music is essential for our mental health and wellbeing. Let’s all pull together to make sure there are some venues left so we can continue to enjoy live music in the future.

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