Lockdown blues… How COVID-19 has changed the lives of local musos in the Bay

Claire venn lockdown blues

BY CLAIRE VENN – LOCAL MUSICIAN

Lockdown’s effect on local musicians through the eyes of Claire Venn, popular local muso…

The national lockdown has had a huge effect on the livelihoods of so many in our beautiful country – and closer to home – our wonderful Bay.

The night our President announced the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people, the entire events / entertainment industry came to a sudden halt.

Literally, within 24 hours, 95% of all events that had been booked for the year, were cancelled or “postponed” until further notice.

Lockdown has a huge effect on the industry…

Weddings, sporting events, corporate and private functions – all put on hold. The last 5% dwindled within the week that followed. This was my livelihood. Gone.

I gave myself 2 days. 2 days to lose my mind in self pity, grief and fear. I would just sit and think about what this means for the events industry, musicians, restaurant owners, their staff, and all those in the event / entertainments industry who must be feeling what I’m feeling.

What is happening?
Is this for real?

And then I got up.

Things were still relatively “normal” at this stage. There was no official talk of lockdown yet, although we all knew it was coming. Some of my musician mates were in a panic and just completely freaking out.

That is when this unexpected sense of calm came over me. I thought, we are going to be fine. We are musicians. We are creatives. We will find a way.

Firstly, as it is with all artists and entrepreneurs, we have never had steady paychecks and survived plenty of months without enough money to pay the bills. We’ve been living month to month from the day we chose this path.

In a sense, we’ve been training for this our entire careers. We’ve run similar races in the past. This will just be the marathon we never thought we would ever have to endure.

I felt I had a social responsibility to keep up morale…

In a personal capacity I also felt like I had a social responsibility to keep up morale. Music is a powerful tool – it brings joy, peace, calm and a way to deal with what’s happening. We have to keep the music going.

Give people something to look forward to, and bring some semblance of normality to their lives.

We have to keep the music going…

I started recording videos at home and posting them on YouTube and Facebook. A few days in, and live streaming became very popular.

Those of us who were able to do so, started performing live shows via Facebook. It’s not that easy, and can be quite a complex setup in order to get decent quality audio and visual out there. I was lucky. I had the right gear, and my partner is a tech whizz… so off I went.

Venues that supported live music started donating vouchers to raffle off during shows in order to bring in a bit of money. Within a few days, we (local musicians) started getting offers of corporate sponsorships.

These are obviously at a fraction of the normal performance rate, but there was money coming in, and I for one, was filled with a sense of gratitude and purpose once again.

By supporting one another, encouraging one another and by being creative and resourceful with what we have to give…

It’s incredible how much things can change in the blink of an eye, and even more so, how quickly that change becomes the “norm”. Without the support of our friends, family, our local venues (in particular Ziggy’s and La Cantina who started the ball rolling with voucher donations and large amounts of encouragement) and avid music supporters in our community, I’m not sure where we would be.

They all needed the music. And we needed them. This is how a community should face crisis. This is how we will survive. By supporting one another, encouraging one another and by being creative and resourceful with what we have to give.

Watch Claire Venn’s cover of Memories (Maroon 5) below:

Follow Claire Venn on YouTube and Facebook – and enjoy the music!

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