Thanks to the Corona virus, we have all had gigs cancelled or postponed since March. Lockdown has spoilt a lot of our fun, and a lot of musicians’ incomes.
It has been interesting to see what silver linings or positive opportunities some musicians have made out of this unique situation though. Everyone has been stuck at home, with none of our usual frantic rushing from school run to work to home to event to restaurant to gig to pub.
In Aberdeen a couple of well known musicians, who usually sing in pubs at the weekends and events in various venues, used their extra time to do some charity fundraising sessions live on Facebook. Myke Black and Paul Black each raised a considerable sum for Cash For Kids, with one memorable session when Paul was totally upstaged by the amazing moves of his adorable daughter Frankie!
There have been other local musicians doing occasional live streams, in particular on a public group called Lockdown Live Aberdeenshire featuring various musicians such as Andy Robbins and Peter Stewart posting videos as they feel like it. These have really kept me going when I’ve missed the buzz of live music.
It is not just local bands using Facebook, Gary Barlow has done a series of 64 Crooner Sessions videos with various other musicians: James Arthur, Tiffney, Jason Donovan, Cliff Richard to name but a few!
Gary was also involved in a video recorded for Compare the Market when they treated us to Take That and some of their top hits. Premiered on a Friday evening my Facebook stream was full of people “checking in” to watch it together. Then lots of comments on what they were wearing, how long their hair was, and what their houses looked like!
Similarly on Disney+ they have done some Disney Family Singalong sessions, presented by Ryan Seacrest, with stars from screen and stage singing the songs we all know and love, from their own home. The most amusing of which was the Mary Poppins roof top song when the dancing duo actually had costumes and chimney pots in their own home to add to the magic.
Fèis Obar Dheathain the Aberdeen Gaelic Arts Festival is one example of organisations offering musical tuition through video call in lockdown. They have recently done two workshops with the Gaelic singer Mary Ann Kennedy which have been well attended, and added to their funds through a nominal attendance fee.
#LetTheMusicPlay campaign is trying to raise awareness of the impact of the lack of live music. A letter, signed by over 1,500 artists, such as The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, QOTSA, Therapy?, Genesis, Phil Collins, Nick Mason, has been sent to Oliver Dowden (Culture Secretary) to stress the importance of devising a proper timeline for reopening and various other measures that means we can save the music industry. Everyone can get involved by posting a picture of the last concert they went to with the hashtag to raise awareness and show support.
Here’s hoping the new normal brings us together to love music again soon.