Hey everyone, I want to start off by saying I understand why things are being postponed or cancelled, and I’m not writing this as a spoiled concertgoer complaining about the artists – or as a matter of fact any of their staff and crew, but rather to convey my concern for the industry and the future of it as a whole as I know most of us are.
This also is not a piece where I’ll be preaching to the choir to go out and get vaccinated, because no matter what I personally believe, truth be told not everyone is on the same page and that’s something we’re all having to deal with for the time being regardless.
Two Friday’s ago, (8/6), I was invited to come down to The Stone Pony out in Asbury Park, New Jersey (which is roughly a three hour drive from me with NY/NJ traffic) for the highly anticipated Limp Bizkit Post Pandemic Popup Party featuring the lovely Spiritbox as the opener, which honestly could go down as one of the coolest tours in years.
It’d been over a year since my last show and needless to say I was over the moon excited to get back into the swing of things. The announcement of the tour itself was promising for the future of the scene – or so it seemed at the time. I threw on my Rollin’ shirt, sharpened my eyeliner and headed on out. About 2 1/2 hours into the ride with about 45 minutes until Spiritbox’s set was supposed to start, I got a text from a friend of mine with the heartbreaking news that the show had been postponed. Naturally, anger set in first as we made a near three hour drive for the gig and there was no clear reasoning for the show’s abrupt postponement. I even remember my brother at one point saying: “Why the hell couldn’t they have made this announcement sooner?” I agreed, at the time.
(I mean, we did end up meeting Fred Durst outside the venue so the trip down wasn’t a total loss, right? Shoutout to him for being so damn cool… he signed my shirt and took a selfie that you could check out riiiight here:)
did i meet fred durst today after the show got postponed? bet your ass i did pic.twitter.com/9q27rNHInP
— scene blair waldorf✨ (@GlNABINA) August 7, 2021
I searched socials for answers, but nothing but the announcement of the postponed show on the venues pages and angry fans were anywhere to be found.
We decided to head over to the venue anyway, as we were only about 15 minutes away just to feel out the situation. A sea of red yankee hats and cargo shorts were outside the venue, with buzz that of course, the postponed show had something to do with COVID-19. The rumor mill was swirling, with some saying members of Spiritbox had the virus, with others saying it was Limp Bizkit’s bassist who was sick with it.
Here is where my anger quickly became concern.
When it really came down to it, it didn’t matter who on the tour did or didn’t have the virus, but the concern here was the bigger picture; just how easily shows can be shut down and how so unprepared we as an industry are for it not just in a singular instance like this one, but for the future of shows and the scene as a whole. As we know now, the remainder of the tour was not just postponed, but completely cancelled, so what does this mean for the future of shows and all of the careers that come with it?
The answer to that question is one that is to be most feared, as of right now… it’s just outright uncertain. Since the cancellation of this tour, a lot of bands as well as venues have made announcements that they would be mandating vaccines in order to even enter a show in the first place, with some already just postponing their tour dates all together. Now I know I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but if people are still coming up positive for the virus even with vaccine mandates in place and shows are being shut down 20 minutes before stage time (yes, by the way it happened to me again when I went to see Korn this past weekend in PA this time) not to be the bearer of logical bad news – it almost feels inevitable that the industry is going to be the first thing to shut down again if the spread of variant strains continues to grow.
When considering all of this, it’s important for us as a community to remember that our scene is, while slowly making a comeback, still struggling. A lot of the artists we look up to and adore across all genres of the scene are going to be hit drastically not just financially, but emotionally as well. Here’s what we need to do to make sure when normalcy eventually makes a permanent return, we have a scene to come back to as well.
1. Stream – but also buy. Streaming and getting numbers up on streaming platforms definitely helps the artist, but if you have the means, get an actual copy of an album or single release vinyls that might be for sale directly through the band or artist’s pages. Not only are you able to listen to your favorite bangers, but you’re directly supporting as well.
2. Merch sales = food on the table. Coming from personal experiences, unless we’re talking about god tier popularity scene bands, other than ticket and tour sales – a lot of our favorite bands rely on selling their merchandise to keep afloat. If shows were to abruptly come to an end all over again, buying something as small as a hoodie or even a poster helps out way more than anyone realizes! (Bonus points if the drip is fire too).
3. COVERAGE. This one is for my fellow editorialists, journalists, interviewers, critics writers, and if you happen to be reading this – artists with established platforms. Social media is everyone’s best friend when you’re in the music industry. This is the definition of SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTISTS. If things come to a close again, it’s important for us to remember that even the legends have started somewhere. If shows grind to a halt again, there’s no shows to showcase new talent – so it’s really up to us to deep dive into the scene and push new artists to the front of the of it so we continue to evolve and not go extinct. Not only are we helping them, but it keeps our jobs alive and well, too.
4. Save the hate. Trust me when I say I know we’re all frustrated with the state of the world right now- and that’s including the artists we all have been excited to see, or hear from for the past year and a half. Sometimes, however, we tend to forget that they too are in fact human and probably dealing with the same things we all are. They see what you’re saying – and trust me when I say they get tired of hearing it too. Instead of spewing nasty comments or talking shit about “your favs” throw a Spotify link on your socials, take a step back and show support for them until they put shows on to what you know is their full potential.
I’d like to stress one more time that this is just a personal perspective, and this isn’t me being a theorist, or saying that shows are going to definitely be shut down again – but rather a hypothetical on what could come if the world decides to shut down again. Even if (the universe willing) things progress forward, consider the tips given regardless. We need to make sure we’re ready this time around so we can bounce back soon, and safely and maybe even bigger and better than ever.