Covid-19’s Impact on Canada’s Live Music

As the coronavirus situation has unfolded in Canada, Canadians see the impacts that it’s had on the music industry. There have been many impacts on Canada’s music industry directly and indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This impact is specifically seen in live music performances with the guidelines limiting live music being lessened in the past weeks.

Live performances are going to change immensely, even when a vaccine is available. Mosh pits most likely won’t be able to be a thing for a long time. The whole experience will be different for a while. said Heather Gunn, a journalist aspiring to write for the entertainment and music industry, I don’t see live music coming back in a normal way until a vaccine is readily available, and even then, artists and fans will have to take precautions. Concerts, as we know them, will never be truly the same again, or not for a long time at least.

Alberta’s guidelines impacting live music performances have changed as the pandemic has progressed. Currently, Alberta’s guidelines are loosening up allowing for venues to present bands to perform. Opening up the live music, sector is going to bring much-needed funds into the music industry as Covid-19 has detrimentally impacted musicians financially.

Covid-19 has unfortunately caused a huge shift in the music industry. With the temporary absence of live music, musicians are hurting. It’s quite well known that live music is the biggest source of income for most artists, and that has come to a standstill for the time being. explains Gunn.

Here is a quick list of the updated guidelines to keep staff, volunteers, performers, and patrons safe.

  • Singing along, cheering or yelling is discouraged. Encourage clapping or noisemakers.
  • COVID-19 awareness in the form of signage, posters and information are to be easily accessible and visible including in different languages.
  • Using online or touchless pay options when possible.
  • Ensuring a 4-meter distance between performers and the audience by blocking off the
    front two rows of seating, barriers, or signage.
  • Encourage patrons to maintain physical distancing, follow proper hand hygiene, and
    respiratory etiquette always with signage or verbal announcements.
  • Consider adjusting spaces accessible to the public to support physical distancing including…
    • Controlling entrance and exits from high traffic areas
      allowing for staggered entry.
    • Ensuring a minimum 2-meter distance between attendants.
    • Limiting crowded or bottleneck areas with staff, volunteers, or barriers to redirect people that gather in these specific areas.
    • Using markings to encourage physical distance in lines .
  •  When possible offer alternatives to in-person attendance like live-streaming or drive-in.
  • Maintain regular cleaning and sanitation of high touch areas.

Non-traditional venues such as pop up venues are discouraged because of “difficulty of
maintaining appropriate distancing and managing the size of the gathering”. Other non-traditional venues such as outdoor events and drive up events have their own guidelines.

Audience confidence has been shaken to say the very least,  with Half of all Canadians not being comfortable going to a live performance in the states while 32% say it will take at least six months to be comfortable again.

Despite the stress and concerns over live music. It’s important to people as shown by research done by Music Canada and Abacus Data as most music lovers will really miss seeing live music.

As the pandemic continues, our research found that self-identified “live music lovers” now miss live music even more than they did in April. 90% of respondents in this group now say “I really miss going to concerts” — and 89% of this group agree that digital content will never replace the feeling of seeing live music. Erin Benjamin, President and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association.

Reopening live music venues are going to require a lot of work both from the music industry, the Canadian government and the community of music lovers.

“What we find interesting about what our research demonstrates is that live music is not going to just disappear. Canadians really miss the experience and want to come back, and we know they will return to venues and shows in time, and when they feel comfortable with others around them,” said Benjamin.

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