Covid-19 has been a really difficult situation for everyone and has affected us all in some ways. Mentally, physically, financially.
All industries have been affected by lockdown and restrictions with social distancing but one of the ones that has seen the most negative effect is the arts. Being a media outlet and playing music the state of the arts is one we have been watching closely and supporting as best we can through these times.
For me live music, theatre and cinema are like oxygen. It's something I need to survive. It keeps me sane, it does wonders for my mental health and having that excitement of an event to attend is something that I have missed considerably through the last 8 months. For some, things like this are the ONLY things that keep them going, the only things that stop them from self harm and depression. The arts and entertainment industry is so important to so many.
With the great news that some of our local venues such as The Joiners have received much needed grants/funding from the Arts Council to ensure they stay open and with all the new measures in place to make these safe places to visit during the pandemic, I figured now would be a good time to actually visit one of these venues and experience for myself what social distancing would mean at a show. After a very safe and successful trip to the Mayflower a little while ago I was interested to see what a music venue would be like.
The show I went to was very different to the kind of show I would normally attend but I headed down to the Concorde Club this week to see The Overtones. Attending with a friend of mine who lives with parents who are in a high risk category did mean that safety for us was paramount and she did understandably have some concerns being in an indoor venue with a large amount of people.
It was a very different experience to what I've been used to in the past at the Concorde. The capacity - obviously - was a lot less than normal. I think down from about 300 to 90 so its a big drop in numbers.
This is something very important to remember when looking at ticket prices for events, these venues are trying their hardest to not increase ticket prices in the current climate knowing how important live music is for mental health and also knowing that a large number of guests will likely have at the very least been subjected to a large reduction in income due to furlough or redundancies.
For the moment I walked in I felt safe.
Masks have to be worn until you sit at your table. All drinks were table service - with a handy little 'Service Please' sign to hold up.
All staff I came into contact with were friendly knowledgeable and as well as wearing masks were very much adhering to the social distancing.
In terms of the layout. All seats/tables were at a safe distance and a safe distance from the stage as well.
During the show itself no dancing was allowed - but obviously we could sing along and dance in our chairs.
This show was not only something that the people in the audience clearly needed - seeing the smile on my friends face through the whole show and seeing the wave of anxiety she had about being safe disappear made my night to be honest. It re-affirmed for me why it is so important that we support these venues to be able to have these acts in to do these shows.
This show was also something that The Overtones needed. These guys were so happy to be on a stage, working. Doing something that they've dedicated their lives to doing. Something so clearly that they were born to do. They were as always in fine tune and peppered their set with jokes about the situation and put on such a fun and entertaining show. You could hear and see how emotional it made them to be in that room.
The same can be said for the staff at the club, the sound engineer and everyone involved behind the scenes who has been concerned for the sustainability of their jobs over this year.
Another venue that is currently putting on socially distant shows is The 1865 - who were not awarded funding this week.
Jodie Bowie who we featured on International Womens Day put on a SOLD OUT rock show this weekend. Jodie who curates the very popular NozFest in Southampton managed to put on a Rock Show with Bournemouth band South of Salem headlining. In a safe socially distant, seated capacity, check out the video below for some behind the scenes footage and some from the show itself.
Between these venues there is something for everyone so have a look and see what they and the other local venues have coming up. Please keep an eye on our gig guide which will be making a welcome return in the coming weeks.
Please go support these venues, buy a ticket, attend a show, without your support these places will disappear and live music will be a thing of the past.
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