Supporting Artists During Lockdown
By Eve Jeffery
One of the first things I realised when I first moved to the Far North Coast, is that most people in the area have more than one job, and definitely most artists do – and it goes beyond actresses working at cafes while waiting for their big break. It’s more permanent than that.
People like local singer, Sara Tindley, who is also a farmer. Comedian, Vanessa Larry Mitchell, also trains support workers in the disability sector, and there are many others who use the income from their ‘other’ work to keep them going when things get a little slow – it helps keep them on the road, in the studio, and creating merch’.
One musician I asked said his ‘day’ job was several streams of income from part time contract work and investing. He said if his work life was a relationship status on Facebook, it would say ‘It’s complicated’.
So what happens when your career is cancelled by a pandemic? Three times in the last two weeks I have had to go to our gig guide list and wipe at least 50 shows from the list. It was heartbreaking to press, and keep on pressing, delete.
Performers work really hard – it’s not all Keef and Mick sitting around sipping expensive bourbon and smiling at photographers through cigarette smoke. During pandemic life, even some of the biggest names struggle. Bob Dylan has pretty much been on the road for 32 years. The Never Ending Tour started in 1988 and ended in 2020 because of COVID. Now Bob might not need the cash, but the band does. The roadies, tour managers, venue and catering staff, equipment sellers and the T-shirt printers – they all need the money.
What can fans do? In 2021 we have a little thing called the internet – you don’t even need to leave your chair, let alone leave your home. You can shop for music and merchandise online, and there are also plenty of entertainment options from local artists and businesses on the world wide web.
People give online concerts, and they’re dirt cheap. Shows like the upcoming one with Kitty Flanagan, Akmal and Mandy Nolan who are putting their Regent show Political Animals: Question Time online; there is a broad spectrum of artists who are performing live tunes on social media for free, a kind of digital busking.
So help a brother or sister out – remember performing artists next time you head to the interweb to shop for yourself or for gifts.