The positives and the negatives
To make matters worse, in South Korea – where the virus was dealt with so successfully that they only had a handful of cases left in the second week of May – a second outbreak has been linked to young people going to nightclubs in Seoul. If our government is anything to go by, we will be watching closely to what is happening around the world.
But what's the UK nightlife industry's take on how clubbing will look post-Covid 19?
As an event organise for events both corporate and private, I feel as if this has been a nightmare and a chance to refresh everything that we have been doing for years.
Our chance to reset a over saturated market. The nightclubs has become somewhat stagnant. Not only have we become massively reliant on huge names which is a headache for the smaller promoters, and the nightclub owners alike. We spend so much on the artists that you make zero profits. I am hoping that a silver lining comes from this. I am sincerely hoping #Coronavirus will make us readdress the balance between talent – who can command big fees – and promoters and venues, who contend with virtually zero profits.
The way that the economics of the music industry has gone in recent years is that a lot of DJ's are valued on ticket sales by promoters. To book a big act for a promoter can cost more than they'll make in ticket sales. Perhaps after coronavirus we'll have a fairer look at how income is distributed in the music industry. With less money floating around, and fewer promoters and venues, that could make it a buyer's market – meaning talent may have to be more flexible in working with smaller venues. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. Rather than flying in big-name artists, promoters could book local artists. This is a great thing for smaller DJ’s.
The pandemic may prove a lifeline for clubs as for festivals, the days of overflowing festival portaloos and scant running water in clubs will be gone. Hygiene will be a huge thing for festival operators now, in particular. We won't be able to have portaloos being used by thousands of people without being cleaned after each user.
I deeply think that this virus is going to create a new old skool rave culture. Back in the day going to an illegal rave or any rave was totally about going against the rules, a group of people coming together in the face of adversity. This all stopped. There was a long time where the nightclub culture totally changed this. Now, it’s starting to reignite already with groups of private pages planning mass illegal gatherings.
The rave culture will come back to life!
Even after the restrictions lift, clubs will struggle to get punters through the door. If they’re only allowed to trade 100 people in a 200 capacity venue, you might as well stay closed says Hanger 18 from Swansea.
Many in the industry accept that there will be no events over a 1,000-person capacity until next March at the earliest. When the government furlough scheme runs out in October, mass layoffs across the industry are likely.
Nightclubs full of people shoulder to shoulder, giving hugs won’t be happening anytime soon unless there is a vaccine, if this is what people are believing is necessary.
I know many that would be willing to take the risk, but I doubt the government will allow us to do that. Already we are seeing many going against the rules, and having illegal raves. I don't think things will go back to how it was until we have a vaccine. It will take a very long time for people to want to go back into a nightclub.
Dancing in a field is definitely much more appealing for now, while it is sunny at least! When things do restart, small to mid-range DJs who'd command between £1,000 to £1,500 per show will find themselves scrapping with other DJs for a reduced pool of work. The superstar DJs will probably be able to restart their careers because they're so large. It’s the mid-range DJs that will be affected by this. They’re going to see a lot more competition for a lot less work. Already there are a pool of DJ’s who are lucky to get their travel expenses covered, so those who rely on being paid well be hugely affected.
I believe that festivals will definitely be much more appealing, and they will be able to command higher prices. However, I doubt they will be sell-outs as they once were. I truly believe festivals will not be sell-outs as we all expects since we have been on lock down for so long. I for one, am rethinking the whole festival layout. For sure, many nightclubs will not be able to cope with having to provide social distancing spaces. Not to mention how will we ensure people keep safe distancing especially when alcohol is involved.
At least a few live music venues will go under. According to the #SaveOurVenues campaign, 556 independent venues are currently at risk. For the clubs that do reopen, some form of social distancing looks probable. I have been chatting to many club owners, and unless they have bottomless pits, many will not recover under the social distancing rules. The ones who are able to do so will have to make large cuts on their entertainment or charge higher ticket fees.