Hopefully, at some point in 2021, we can start going to gigs again.
What kind of gigs do you want to go to? Festivals, arena concerts or gigs at smaller venues? If you answered the latter, do you only go to gigs you pay to enter and/or local band showcases which tend to be free? The reason I ask is that the pandemic has shown how important music and all of the arts are for our own wellbeing. Whilst you wouldn’t ask a plumber or mechanic to work for exposure/publicity/other promises (delete as appropriate), bands and artists will often do so.
As the longer-term effects of the pandemic on the music scene are going to be negative in the short to medium term plus the UK’s exit from the EU making the cost and potential opportunities to tour in Europe for UK bands less available and more expensive, it feels an appropriate time to posit ways of promoting which compensate the performer a little more and provide opportunity here in the UK.
Brighton is blessed with many pubs and venues which in happier times hosted gigs every day of the week.
Opportunity to perform is tempered with the reality that for most bands to get a slot means performing for beer. Venues themselves are suffering enormously as their trade has been sporadic since March last year. Whilst there have been various government subsidies and initiatives so far, targeted support relating to smaller venues and local bands could benefit both them and associated nighttime businesses.
What I would propose is that for every gig-goer, the government pays the venue £2. This would be split equally between the bands and the venue. This isn’t meant to take the place of paid gigs that would happen but to provide an additional, if admittedly small revenue stream to venues and for bands to be paid on top of their beer allowance. The benefit for the government is revenue generated by taxation relating to the venues and associated businesses which support them and other outlets which are used by gig-goers pre or post-gig.
Longer-term, when the effects of the pandemic are negligible, I would argue that the charge remains but to be paid by the gig-goer rather than the government. This builds into gig going that all bands are of value and worth whether they are taking their first faltering steps or otherwise and that entertainment isn’t free. It also gives bands confidence in asking and transparency in understanding what they should expect when starting out. What do you think? Let us know.
What’s the value of a band? At the moment, everything!