Cancelled Concerts and COVID: How Is It Affecting The Music Scene?



Crowds, coughing, and closed spaces, the whole world fears catching the Coronavirus. As more and more reports emerge of people infected by COVID-19, public vicinities are taking extra precautions to prevent spreading the respiratory disease from person-to-person.

RELATED: PSA: The Coronavirus Outbreak Isn’t An Excuse To Be Xenophobic Against Asians

It starts with a temperature check on the forehead and then a mandatory hand cleansing with alcohol before you can enter any building. What wasn’t a circumstance of public knowledge then, a temperature higher than 36.4 won’t permit you to enter about any building. At the forefront of our new reality, security guards are wearing rubber gloves and surgical masks as they instruct the public to follow their health and safety guidelines. A single cough can earn you death stares from strangers, where they will inch as fast and far as they can. That is if they have an ounce of propriety, because some folks around the world aren’t so lucky.

Photo courtesy of Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

One of the most affected industries by COVID-19 is the entertainment industry. Long-awaited concerts are being postponed as they put everyone’s health as the top priority. Ticket sales are going down and tours are being canceled every other day. Flights are being banned and tourists are stuck in foreign countries. How much longer will this keep going? What do we do if things get worse?

Most entertainment institutions are prepared for certain disaster risk situations, but a viral epidemic isn’t one. This pandemic is something that doesn’t go away after one day and there’s no way for things to continue as ‘business as usual’ until it’s contained. That means companies that hold concerts, games, museums, festivals, and the like, are all in new territory, making the future of their businesses uncertain.

The most recent music festival postponed was Wanderland; the yearly music and arts festival in the Philippines. One by one, international artists announce that their appearances were canceled because of travel restrictions. Fans have been requesting for Wanderland to be pushed to a later date, until finally, three days before Wanderland’s event, it was officially announced that “in compliance with the directive of the City Government of Muntinlupa” Wanderland will reschedule the festival due to “the recent advisory of the World Health Organization (WHO) upgrading the risk assessment of COVID-19.”

Photo from @wanderlandfest on Facebook

The stage set-ups were already in the works and some of the international artists were already in the plane to the Philippines. While it may seem trivial, these aren’t just entertaining, because it is an economical convergence for those working behind the scenes who have toiled to get this set up. It’s like time and money invested are considered before deciding to forego. Which begs the question: Will the artists that already flew to the Metro for the show be paid? What about the companies that created the enormous stage set-ups? Do these companies have insurance for infectious diseases?

Photo from @wanderlandfest on Facebook

The entertainment industry relies on ticket sales for income. So the loss from cancelled tours have undoubtedly affected the employees and staff members that work for these companies because of this uncertainty. When is the earliest the music scene goes to normal? Even local productions are taking precautions, especially with the rising cases in the Philippines. This isn’t to make anyone scared, but just to keep the virus at bay. Yet, despite of the fear of catching the virus, people are still willing to attend shows and even buy plane tickets to other countries.

COVID
Photo from @mrlkdds on Twitter

Millennial jokes and memes have emerged, bringing light to the situation with words half-true, while some try to make disease prevention seem more fun than it is. Schools are being suspended, buildings and malls where COVID-19 cases were confirmed are now like ghost towns. People are afraid, but not afraid enough to change their lifestyle.

As much as it’s tempting to take advantage of this situation, and as much as you may think your immune system is strong, please stay put. Take this time to self-quarantine, this is how you help your country contain the virus.

What do we do in the meantime? Will filmed concerts be a thing? Do we just look back at clips of our favorite acts online? Do we listen to Spotify non-stop until we’re in the clear?

It may not look too good now, but if anything can fashion a silver lining, it is the music industry.

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