Behind the proverb ” After rain the good weather “, a question mark. It was under this title that a debate was organized on Wednesday, October 13, about concerts and tours against the backdrop of the health crisis linked to Covid-19, during the first of three days of the Marché des musiques contemporaine (MaMA), in Paris. The convention brings together professionals from the performing arts, publishing, the recorded music market… and offers, in the evening, a festival of emerging artists, in various venues in the Pigalle-Barbès district.
Eighteen months of virtual inactivity in Europe with regard mainly to big events and the private sector, started at close dates, early 2020, depending on the country, until a more or less noticeable recovery this autumn: this is the initial observation shared by all the interveners.
Audrey Guerre, coordinator of Live DMA, a structure that brings together more than 3,000 venues, clubs and festivals in seventeen European countries, indicated that there had been 78% fewer concerts in 2020 until mid-2021 , compared to 2019. If this rate corresponds to the structures federated by Live DMA, it is representative of what the entire sector has experienced. Almost everywhere, most of the big venues remained closed in 2020 and the first months of 2021, and the big festivals with several tens of thousands of people every day did not have an edition two years in a row.
If the return of artists on stage began in the summer – rather in small venues, jazz or classical music festivals – it was primarily those of the various local markets that were able to take place. With varied results in terms of attendance, according to the notoriety of the artists, the musical genres. Full here, half full elsewhere, sometimes even for stars, without naming names.
“Regain public confidence”
“We still feel that people want to come back to concerts, that there is the idea that things will get better”, said Márcio Laranjeira, from Lovers & Lollypops, a Portuguese concert organization and phonographic production structure. When Coralie Berael, director of Forest National, the 8,000-seat large hall in Brussels, announces that at about twenty concerts in November usually “Only five are programmed” for this period, this year.
The postponements, sometimes two or three times, and the cancellations would have made the public cautious, which more and more often buys its tickets at the last moment. This weakens the financial arrangements for tours prepared several months in advance.
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