A few days ago we analysed the situation of the sector in some European countries (UK and Germany) during the pandemic and the help received from the institutions. The reality was disparate from one country to another within the European environment, and the reality is that the sector has been seriously affected in some countries.
Although this is not over, unfortunately, we already have health, scientific and statistical factors (those that rule in a situation like this…) that allow us to affirm that yes, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And this is not a prediction. Day by day, this reality is closer. But let’s not fool ourselves, no one can let their guard down and we will surely have a summer with some restrictions, even if the light is gradually opening.
How can we say this? Quite simply. Let’s take a look at what is happening and what will happen in our neighbouring countries and in others that have advanced vaccination schedules for the population.
United Kingdom. High vaccination percentages compared to other European countries (later we could qualify that if a part of the population has only one dose, etc.), and after having had some tough restrictions in recent times.
The music industry has had significant financial support from the government. Despite this, however, it has obviously suffered. On 21 June the restrictions are due to be lifted completely, and since this was announced, the flood of event announcements has been unstoppable. It is also true that this has happened because it was expected that a large amount of money would be announced to cover insurance for event cancellations due to Covid. This has not happened, at least in the latest announcement on 3 March, and now several festival associations are stating that there may be a series of cancellations for those events that were rushed to announce their dates for 2021.
But there have already been announcements of major events postponing their editions to next year, for two main reasons, the size of the events and the usual dates… examples are Bluedot (cap. 21,000), Download (85,000), BST Hyde Park (65,000), Junction 2 (12,000) and Glastonbury (147,000).
There are more examples. The Meltdown festival, which in its 2020 edition was led by Grace Jones, has already been postponed twice, from 2020 to 2021 and less than a week ago it was announced that it will definitely be postponed to June 2022. Something logical because most of the event was held in an enclosed space, and in the case of the closing concert, to be given by the Jamaican diva, all the tickets were sold within minutes of going on sale in February 2020.
But it’s not all cancellations. Not at all. The usual late-August regulars like Leeds and Reading are still on, and between then and early September names like Creamfields, Parklife, Isle Of Wight and All Points East are joining in.
And in the club world? Here too, there have been important announcements. Printworks opens in September, with a weekend and three dates, 17, 18 and 19 September, with a secret line-up and almost all tickets already sold out. And with more announcements, for example, for October 15th with Haçienda Classical, also sold out.
Fabric, another London clubbing legend, announced its reopening on 25 June, with tickets sold out, but with this announcement: “While we are excited about reopening, this will depend on our confidence in being able to do so safely under the Covid protocols set by the government; we will only do it if we can be sure that we can have the best experience at home where we belong.”
It is true to say that, in this section of the sector, we are seeing openings of outdoor spaces coming up. In Manchester, the development of a former open-air car park in the city centre was announced, which will be called Square One and will open on the weekend of 26 June.
News of small and medium sized events is multiplying by the day, with date announcements coming in steadily from July onwards… in the UK, this coming August will be unusually busy for music in recent years.
But everything seems to indicate that this longed-for new normality will come with the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Then events of all sizes are already being announced. For example, the Mayor of Brighton 😊 Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim, has already announced a national stadium tour for the start of November, including a date in his city where only NHS employees and healthcare staff will be admitted (free of charge).
But it’s not just Norman. The list from July is long and full of big names… Black Coffee, Jamie Jones, Groove Armada, Jeff Mills…
Let’s go to Germany. There the horizon is not as crowded as in the UK, but from June onwards there is a lot of activity, for example Massive Attack in Berlin, but it is from August onwards when the events accelerate. Kruder & Dorfmeister, Róisín Murphy, Luciano, Tricky… and many of them already sold out.
In our country?
The big massive festivals like Sonar have obviously been cancelled. But there are already starting to be concerts, with reduced audiences and sanitary measures. And some smaller festivals are also starting to be announced, and the news of their cancellation has not yet come out. At the end of the day, what will mark this evolution in our country, as in any other in our environment, will be the rate of vaccination. That is why we wanted to compare the situation with that of a neighbouring country, the United Kingdom, which is ahead of us in terms of the percentage of the population vaccinated.
As soon as we manage to increase this percentage, the situation will change.
And do people want to enjoy electronic music again, both at festivals, events and in clubs?
The answer is YES, in capital letters. A recent survey conducted in Germany, the UK, Italy, France and Spain found that 78% of respondents would go out and enjoy clubbing again… and 56% said they would go out even more than before.
The light is already at the end of the tunnel. We are just touching it with the tips of our fingers, we are very close to start enjoying again things we miss so much.