As Mask and Vaccine Mandates Fall, COVID Rates Soar Among Touring Musicians

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As Mask and Vaccine Mandates Fall, COVID Rates Soar Among Touring Musicians

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This is a news story from Variety by Jem Aswad. The author here is talking about rising COVID cases among touring musicians. She says that while no official data exists, social media posts from band members and musicians postponing or canceling concerts due to someone testing positive has been the way to find this data.

Some musicians are demanding their audience members wear a mask, as if one member of the group tests positive, it could mean more financial trouble in the future.

“I am not a big band,” indie musician Sasami tweeted earlier this year. “If we get COVID and have to cancel shows I’m fully FUCKED. If you love me at all, please wear a mask and buy merch so we can keep touring.”

The indie and mid-level touring acts are hit the hardest by COVID, as canceling a show could mean more financial hardship. Those artists will typically play smaller venues too, and for smaller audiences, meaning that every show does count when it comes to money earned. The costs associated with postponed shows are daunting. “If a person on the tour tests positive, you still have to pay for lodging and food, and for a bus or other vehicles if you’ve rented them — and there’s zero money coming in for those shows,” Long says. “And,” he adds, “if the show being canceled is a festival date” — which, like other “tentpole” dates on a tour, are often much more lucrative than club shows — “it can mean a tour that was profitable is suddenly unprofitable.”

The impact that COVID has had on performers themselves sometimes goes unnoticed, especially for smaller acts. This article helps show the ways performing arts has changed due to COVID.

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