Lord alone knows good news has been in short supply in 2020. And, while there’s still plenty of misery around, the announcement of a possible coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, hot on the heels of a Joe Biden victory in the US, at least suggests there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.
There are still many hurdles to overcome before a successful mass vaccination process becomes a reality, of course, but it does at least dangle the prospect of a return to near-normality by the summer, just in time for festival season.
That is particularly welcome news for the beleaguered live sector – but it does need to be followed up with clear timelines. In a chat for the new issue of Music Week, available now, new UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin made the point that the live business isn’t one that can just start up again at a moment’s notice.
It will take a vaccination of millions to help us back
Shows need to be booked, tickets need to be sold, itineraries need to be routed. And the army of workers needed to put on a show – far too many of whom have been forgotten during this pandemic – need to be engaged, with the realistic hope that, this time, their plans won’t be cancelled.
Such a time can still look a long way off from here, deep in the depths of a second lockdown and a full-on economic meltdown. But hope is an important commodity.
So now is the time for the music industry to work together, to lobby government for a roadmap back to live shows, and to implement long-term support for the entire industry.
Some parts of the business have been harder hit than others and, while the various government funding programmes will help many, it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure as much of the industry infrastructure remains in place as possible.
Whenever live shows come back, things will probably not return to the same level immediately. So the industry should start building a long-term recovery plan, to get all parts of the ecosystem in a place to play their role.
It will take a vaccination of millions to help us back. But it will also take the efforts of everyone in the music industry. Let’s go to work…
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