As likely most or all of us in the entertainment and performance economy are learning, the developing situation of the Corona Virus and how we as a country are reacting to it has begun to hit home not only in the form of illness, but rather as a direct threat to incomes and likelihoods by way of of cancelled or postponed events. The depth of effect is likely varying from location to location and within the different markets that we each inhabit, but from the smallest bars cancelling shows to the shuttering of massive events such as SXSW and Coachella, we are nearing a point at which all have likely been affected.
These are indeed uncertain times, but we here at Gigroster wanted to reach out to all our fellow professionals in the entertainment industry in hopes of sharing some clarity, solidarity, and hopefully assurance through what may be on its way.
Cancellations & Postponed Events
In it's most basic of negative consequences, the entertainment world this week has seen a growing cascade of cancelled or postponed events. As these events are the very lifeblood of what keeps many of us afloat, it is reasonable for this to cause a palpable amount of stress at how we will cope with the economic losses. This is a reality that no one can sugar coat, but when planning how to make it through potential hardships always remember that we have withheld through challenges in the past, and through whatever transpires the most important thing to keep in mind is to think towards the future rather than dwell on the immediate challenges. This concept can be shared towards our clientele as well; if an April wedding has been called off, it's not like they aren't ever going to get married. When faced with cancellations, using terms like "rescheduling," "future date," etc can not only help keep yourself emotionally afloat, but will share that mentality with your clients and create a sense of where we will be in the future once this has passed.
In this same regard, one very important matter to remember is that as hard as it may be, it is vital that we respect a client's wishes to cancel or postpone an event. As situations grow potentially harder, the last thing to do is revert to a position of trying to stay afloat at someone else's expense, and trying to push an event to happen when it's organizers have expressed hesitancy is not only unprofessional, but potentially life-threatening to certain members of our society. As mentioned, in the face of hardship we must look towards a future that we are actively creating, rather than sacrificing that future for momentary gain. A client that feels respected and heard, especially with matters as serious as these, is one that is much more likely to come back your way once the storm has passed.
As artists and musicians, it is ironic sometimes how we may get stuck in pre-ordained cycles of economic livelihood. Just as with biological evolution, in the face of challenges it is often the most adaptable and creative to changing situations that are able to survive and thrive. Already, some performers are looking into options to offer their fans livestreamed events, music teachers are expanding access to online lessons, and countless minds are hard at work trying to find alternative ways to maintain their lifestyles in music and performance given a situation that is making in-person interactions hard if not momentarily impossible. Though we at Gigroster wish we could give some more solid answers to "what will we do if no gigs show up for a month?", remember that as artists we are one of the most creative segments of our society, and by working collectively and in our own lives are almost certain to find thus far uncharted methods of maintaining our livelihoods and careers. If you find yourself with excess time where gigs once used to stand, make a point to do your best at anything that may work your way forward; learn a new potentially digitally marketable musical skill, write that method book you have been considering for the past 5 years, whatever it is that keeps you working. There may be little we can do at a point to maintain lost income from cancellations, but what we do have control over is our own productivity and best attempts to manage our own mental health.
Keep an Eye on Federal & State Developments
We by no means would ask you to digest potentially depressing news if you wish to avoid some of the unfortunate developments in current events, but it would be wise for any of us in an economically compromised situation to keep an eye on the evolving state of federal assistance. The exact outcome of these conversations and the method by which they come to fruition are as of yet unclear, but whether it results as a tax break, utility/rent assistance, or direct-to-citizen cash payments, we strongly encourage to stay informed on the situation so as to be most prepared to utilize whatever the outcome is.
This may sound like odd advise, but take it only as a reminder to keep an eagle eye out for all options to take the best care of ourselves and our families during this time. By no means rely on this potential assistance and stay engaged with yourself to seek any creative methods to potentially better your situation, but where assistance exists there is no reason to miss out on it!
Respect Developing Health Guidelines
This is not necessarily our place to speak up, but as countless examples are arising of people not respecting internationally and locally requested self-isolation and avoiding large gatherings, we find it pertinent to suggest to all of you to please follow all instructions given by the WHO and local officials. This not only means events, but unless it's truly necessary we suggest to cancel all planned rehearsals until otherwise noted. It only takes one transmission to negate an entire household's attempts at self-quarantine, so it's on ALL of us to work together to wait out the virus until the storm has passed. Remember, we WANT nothing to happen, for no more people to become ill, and for no more deaths by this disease than have already occured, so if we are all stuck in our respective areas and nothing seems to come of it, that is exactly the best scenario we can work towards.
For many of us, music events and rehearsals can be our main outlets to see our friends and loved ones, so it is understandable to resist giving up this life-affirming part of our routine. We ask to please do your best to creatively work around these restrictions, and if your work needs some sort of movement forward to seek creative ways to achieve this. Charts can be written and distributed online, personal practice routines can be requested, and if you need to see your bandmates there are countless options online via facebook, Skype, and many other platforms.
We here at Gigroster will be actively updating performers and clients on the changing situation in regards to when events can get up and running again, and some semblance of normalcy can return to our lives and our practices. Best of luck to everyone through these trying times, and we shall see you on the other side.
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