WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON MUSIC by 4 French promoters – Part 2

Robin ZAGULA Wood Stock Guitares owner

By Rosine Alleva & José Oliveira, Rock At Night Eu Editors 

Let’s continue our questions to Jeremy Cardot, Woodstock Guitares Live Programming Responsible (also guitar player) and Patrick Georgenthum, Zik’inside Promoter.

Robin ZAGULA Wood Stock Guitares owner

Even if it isn‘t time to enjoy live music yet, we’ve got good news for Wood Stock Guitares shop, the Temple of the Guitar!!! Yesterday Robin ZAGULA, WOOD STOCK GUITARES owner announced the reopening for this Monday May 11!! We wish him and his team lots of success !

RAN– Facing this enormous health and inevitable economic crisis, which strikes all trades, what are the difficulties you encounter?

Jeremy Cardot– I would say that on our side, the difficulties essentially lie in our capacity to be reactive regarding the programming concerned by the lockdown. We had to reschedule the dates, update the press relays, the ticket office, warn the spectators who already had their tickets and the companies working with us … All the procedures that should in any case be implemented in situations as exceptional (and fortunately unusual) as this. The important thing was for everything to be up to date and operational for the reopening.

Patrick GEORGENTHUM & the artist BARCELLA

Patrick Georgenthum 3 difficulties emerge. First of all, financial losses linked to concert cancellations (advance payment, marketing campaign). Secondly, the impossibility of projecting into the future and in particular into future programming. And in third, find postponement dates (artists already hired for the coming season, venues not available).

RAN– FRANCE remains the Country in the World where promises for aid to the professions of Culture (dixit the Minister of Culture on EUROPE 1 radio) will be the most important. Are you already aware of these measures? What do you think the most urgent thing needs to be done, so that your profession may continue?

Jéremy CARDOT

JC– No information, we should know a little more in the coming days or hours. All those who make culture possible, private or public, must be financially assisted by contribution of exceptional support funds or by exemption of charges, artists, venues, diffusers, producers, entertainment workers, technicians… all those whose subsistence depends directly on the cultural activity, that it translates into plays, concerts, dance shows or humorist for example.

PG– Small producers and associations so far had no news of any aid The need for small structures is obviously an aid in terms of cash flow. Aid, not a loan that would only repel the debt. No insurance companies covering any pandemic case, the losses are significant whatever the size of the producer, of the association is…

RAN– Will wearing a mask make it difficult to perform certain indoor or even outdoor concerts. ?

JC– To me wearing a mask is only part of the problem. Even if it materializes the fight to avoid spreading the virus, whether indoors or outdoors, it’s the responsibility of the organizers to make the arrangements for the spectator health security. But the spectator has to behave responsibly to limit the risks for him and others. Wearing a mask is to me not a problem but more likely to manage the proximity between all, at the time when we are asked to stay more than a meter from each other.

PG It seems impossible to me to organize indoor concerts in a standing version where the public would wear a mask. A concert, in particular rock concert, is based on proximity and sharing, a masked audience goes against these two principles.

RAN– Certain Insurance companies have terminated the Contracts binding them to the Promoters. Some people complain about the irresponsible nature of these organizations. Have you been in that situation? What is your opinion on this subject?

Jéremy CARDOT in concert!

JC– We don’t have this problem, this concerns big summer festivals which should be given all our support. It’s an important and critical question since the sums committed, both in terms of organization and programming, have taken on another dimension in recent years. We must bear in mind that the model of major festivals of the 2000s and the entire administrative system surrounding can’t be possibly compared to what we know today. However, I think everything hasn’t evolved as quickly as these large gatherings and we must have underestimated the risks that hovered over such large machines. This crisis, for which nobody was prepared, will undoubtedly reconsider the link between promoters and insurances, with renegotiations of contractual conditions increasing the price of insurances.

PG– For several decades LIVE has experienced exponential growth and undoubtedly reached its peak with the COVID arrival. No doubt we will have to listen again to music on CD, vinyl… and dematerialized music.

RAN– We start dreaming of the World After! What would be the ideal world in your profession?

JC– A world where the artist can express his art, where the spectator takes pleasure in coming to a concert, to any event, to a show without having the feeling of taking a risk; a world where the professional and the amateur can live from their passion for music, for the stage and more generally for live performance.

Patrick GEORGENTHUM & the artist BARCELLA

PG– The world after this crisis, in my field of activity, would be to return to the world from before, but I fear that this isn’t possible. Music, concerts … it’s above all LIVE in communion with the public, how to deal in the world after this, I really have no idea, in particular for rock concerts!

RAN– What do you think about the current situation of artists, might they be English, American or even French?

JC– It’s obvious this situation is critical. You can just connect to social networks, facebook or Instagram to see the precariousness of most of them. Great artists have to find substitute activities to support themselves. Being an artist in this period is more like a fight for existence, recognition of his work, place and importance.

PG– The situation of artists, of the whole industry is catastrophic. For artists coming from abroad to play in France in 2020, 2021 will it be possible ????

RAN– Won’t the postponement of concerts from March to July lead to more uncertainty for Artists at the end of 2020 and all of 2021?

Wood Stock Guitares Live venue

JC– This is one of the big questions. Many bands were counting on this period to tour and promote their recently released albums. Many were planned…Everything is compromised and many projects have probably already fallen apart. Will there be what one could qualify an artistic congestion over this period? With a sum of news which will surely drown groups, artists in a too important flow of news? We could write a book on this issue.

PG– The closing of borders to foreigners, the fear of the virus spread will necessarily impact the coming of foreign artists. No doubt French artists will benefit from this fact, if the possibility of playing opens up again.

RAN– What do you think the future has in store for the music industry?

JC– The future will be presenting a more cautious world for the music industry. Large gatherings and events will require new health and administrative provisions. It is already a increasingly fragile industry, which will be even more because of the extreme uncertainty. But can we dare imagining it disappear? Impossible.

PG– For several decades LIVE has experienced exponential growth and undoubtedly reached its peak with the COVID arrival. No doubt we will have to listen again to music on CD, vinyl… and dematerialized music.

RAN– Thank you these interviews. We hope to see you soon to live concerts!

Photos credits: Robin Zagula, Jeremy Cardot, Patrick Georgenthum

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Rosine Alleva