By Shannon Lennox.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a number of issues for those in the music and arts industry.
Local and widespread lockdowns in Scotland mean that several bands and musicians are left with nowhere to fully promote their music and support themselves.
Glasgow city centre music venues such as King Tuts, Clutha Bar and The Garage are some of the most popular in the city. These venues were given money from the Grassroots Music Stabalisation Fund to help keep them from closing down.
Despite this government fund to help venues, many artists and musicians were left angered by a poorly timed government campaign to urge people to work in cybersecurity.
This campaign was in the form of a poster with a picture of a ballet dancer. The slogan read: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber, she just doesn’t know it yet”.
This caused a surge of anger among those in performing arts jobs. They felt the campaign was unsupportive and looked down upon performers who were struggling to keep jobs within their profession.
21 year old Molly is lead singer of the band Fuzzy Lop. She shared her thoughts on why the arts should not be looked down upon:
“I’d dare everyone to go a month without watching Netflix or listening to music. Everything that people turned to during lockdown had been art and music.
“If you don’t have all these small bands and small venues then you wouldn’t ever have people headlining Glastonbury in ten years. There wouldn’t be any ecosystem of bands going through and playing at these festivals. Unless it’s just going to be Catfish and George Ezra for the rest of our lives.”
As well as disdain over the lack of government support, several musicians find that their creative process has been hindered by being in lockdown.
21 year old R&B singer Paul Clark stated that “We’ve been sitting staring at the same four walls for so long, it’s so hard to find inspiration to write a song”.
As well as creative issues, many performers had trouble livestreaming performances to promote their music. Molly continues: “We’ve done a few live streams but we don’t have the technical ability to deal with it. In the music industry we all support each other, the sound guy will make you sound great. Now its just so much responsibility to promote yourself and play by yourself”.
With all the problems that this pandemic has caused, there are organisations that have made it their mission to help struggling musicians.
Help Musicians is a charity that supports performers at all stages in their career. They have recently set up the Do it Differently Fund. This fund will help musicians to create new music, build business skills and income streams.
Awardees of the fund can receive 1:1 business advice sessions, 1:1 health consultation with British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) professionals, covering all aspects of the musician’s health, as well as a £3,000 grant towards their creative output.
Applications for this fund open on 23 October, 2020 and end on 23 November, 9am.
Funds like these are imperative to ensure new and existing artists like Molly and Paul are valued and supported during the pandemic. Music and other art forms are essential and should be treated as such.