Exploring How Liverpool’s Live Music Sector Adapted to Survive the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:Liverpool, music, uncertainty, pandemic, recovery
Drawing on the findings of practitioner group consultations (n=49) and an online survey of music makers (n=37), this article illustrates the devastating impact of 18 months without full-capacity live events on the financial, musical and social wellbeing of the Liverpool City Region’s (LCR) music sector. The analysis shows how uncertainties concerning a return to normal operations, access to funding support, working within socially distanced limitations, and dealing with changing regulations have underlined the live music workers’ experience of the pandemic as well as how a sense of uncertainty persists despite a return to full-capacity events in July 2021. The findings show that digital alternatives partially helped alleviate lockdown’s detrimental effects but, overall, the sector viewed live-streaming as a “stop-gap” incomparable to the conventional concert experience. The research concludes by observing that, despite the numerous practical and economic adaptations and online advances that ensured the sector’s survival, the return to “business as usual” also means a return to pre-pandemic industry economics, which often function to the detriment of the musicians on whom the regional live sector’s operational and financial recovery depend.
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