The coronavirus is not only wreaking havoc medically but many industries are also suffering at a rapid rate.
In particular, the live entertainment industry has seen thousands of cancellations of concerts and stage-shows raging from international artists, stand-up and live theatre (including Broadway in New York going dark).
And while at first, it may seem that it’s only the artists who are suffering this loss, it is also the wider community and staff including caterers, lighting technicians, ushers, merch sellers, warm-up acts that are being impacted.
In light of this, a dedicated website to the “gig economy” has been set-up called I Lost My Gig encouraging all workers from the performing arts industries to share their stories and how the recent cancellations of gigs have affected them.
The Australian platform follows the ilostmygig.com website which started in Austin Texas — who began tallying the losses from the SXSW cancellation.
At the time of publication, the last official Australian tally saw a total loss of $47 million in income, 190k jobs impacted and 20,000 events cancelled across the country. If you are looking for ways you can help, visit the website to submit your interest.
A Spotify playlist has alse been created, showcasing artist who have had to cancel or postpone their gigs.
Story continues after playlist…
Anita Lyons: Thanks for your time, Cam. I can imagine this is quite a stressful time for you. How has the coronavirus impacted you as a comedian?
Cam Knight: I’ve had to put up with millions of shit jokes about Corona beers and racist memes about the Chinese and felt shame as an Australian to see everyone panic buy toilet paper! I’ve watched my best mates restaurant close indefinitely and on top of that, I’ve had countless emails letting me know the work I had booked has either been postponed or cancelled.
AL: Have all of your gigs being cancelled?
CK: Not all but most.
AL: How come some of your shows are still going ahead? Do you expect they will be cancelled?
CK: Some haven’t closed yet because they’re under the 500 person maximum. They’re keeping the place clean and providing a safe workplace, plus they also need to stay in business, stay employed and keep people employed.
Also, other venues have closed just out of precaution which is fair enough by the way
I respect their decision.
“It’s my job. It’s what I feed my kids with.”
AL: You work from gig-to-gig. What does this loss of income mean and what will you do to pay the bills?
CK: Huge. It’s my job. It’s what I feed my kids with. I’m going to form a posse to go out on salvage missions. Our first target will be the Kirribilli house and then every Hillsong venue in the city. They seem to have a fair amount of money they don’t really need.
All the festivals that have closed have not just put the comedians out. There are so many people who rely on that festival for work. All the tech staff, ushers, flyers, behind-the-scenes people and others. They all have an empty space where they had work booked which probably won’t be filled.
AL: How is the industry rallying together at this time?
CK: We’re touching base with each other with our thoughts and prayers which really seems to help every other crisis the world has endured. Hopefully, we’ll be ok. Most of us know how to live poor. We’ve been doing it half our lives trying to ‘make it’.
But we are also rallying to support each other. We aren’t all coming together to try to put on a benefit because who would be allowed to come?! We’re working out ways we can reach our audience safely and still make a living until this blows over.
Some comics have started GoFundMe’s because of Melbourne International Comedy Festival being cancelled and it’s making us all look bad; while others are taking the initiative and are talking about Live streaming their shows for a small fee or asking for a fee to listen to their podcasts.
Others are being creative about it like Dan Connell, which I think is great.
He will bring his show to you. To your lounge room, back yard or doomsday bunker…
Stay home, I'll pop round.Tag a hygenic mate.Ps. If you booked tickets to my MICF show (thanks!), the festival will be in touch re refunds. #cheersbigearstoyou #nohandshakes
AL: What do we need to know about the live-gig economy and how coming out the other side of this, should we help to rebuild it?
CK: It’s a shame this is happening and it could likely kill a lot of great venues and put people, in more debt, than they’d hoped. There are some rooms still going but what we’ll need on the other side of this is full houses at shows to help get us all out of the hole.
AL: How do you think the Government is handling this situation?
CK: Scomo’s [Prime Minister Scott Morrison] surplus is a joke and his actions confusing. $750 surplus? Which we “may” get in June? It’s way too late by then. Thanks, Government.
That’ll last a week but by then I’ll have eaten my kids.
Support Act has a well-being helpline for music and perfroming-arts workers you can call 24hrs a day on 1800 959 500 or visit its website.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.