Initially it was a bit of craic. Everyone at home watching everyone else at home playing a few tunes. The novelty of it all. And there is still something to be said for that side of things for sure.
But almost two months in and with a roadmap detailing the reopening plans for our country up until August 10 with no mention of live music, people in our business are realising that we may not play a gig (as we used to know them anyway) until 2021 at some stage.
Albums, tours have been postponed, cancelled. Huge bodies of work thrown out in the blink of an eye. What was going to work this year may not work next year or the year after.
And that’s all really tough. As much on the financial side as on the mental side. We love to play. With others and for others. And we can do neither – now or for the forseeable future. And it’s hard to know what to do with that.
Some are grieving it. Others are fighting against it, looking for an alternative, a replacement. Others still are forgetting about it as a line of work and looking elsewhere. And the rest are lying low, waiting to see what everyone else does and how it all works out. All legitimate and normal responses.
But everyone is back to the drawing board.
Discussions are happening however. And people are thinking. Now that the full picture is becoming clearer. About options we may have. Not options that anyone would have chosen two months ago, but everything has changed, and these are possible ways in which we can keep going.
And it’s great to hear them. Creative people thinking creatively, trying to help themselves and others in their boat. But the next stage is to actually try things. Organise things. Like Seamie and Sally, the Hawk’s Well Theatre, John ‘The Map’ Callanan and others have done in this area specifically.
Some will work, some won’t, but now more than ever we need people to just try. Think, put a plan together, then try it. And the more bad ideas we have as a group, the more good ones will come to the surface.
If you’re not a leader, an organiser, that’s OK. There’s lots of ways in which you can contribute too. Write some songs. Learn some new songs. Practice your instrument so that you surprise people on the first gig you play whenever that may be. Publish videos of yourself playing. Cheer others up. People still need to hear music – it still has the magic it had two months ago.
And if you’re struggling financially, I’m sorry. Financial stresses can deeply affect people. Maybe do an online gig and ask for money. It’s OK to do so. Really. Not every gig has to be raising money for other worthy causes. Our livelihoods are a worthy cause too. And cut your costs.
Finally – keep her lit. Look after yourselves. And try to embrace the fact that not everything will be OK but some things will.
And sure wasn’t that always the case anyway?!