The impact of a festival-free summer

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this summer, we could be potentially facing a largely festival-free season. I’m getting sick and tired of people using the term ‘unprecedented’ to describe these times, but it’s accurate. Glastonbury has already been postponed to 2021, which could see plenty of other large festivals follow suit. That in itself just seems wholly unusual. Similarly, TRNSMT is off, and Primavera Sound has been forced to change its dates, which may well be amended again. Whatever next?

While popular, well-known artists will, by and large, be able to pick their schedules straight back up, it leaves you wondering how this virus will have affected the progression of developing talent. Could all this, feasibly, put emerging artists behind a year?

Many on-the-rise bands rely on scoring these sought-after annual festivals to boost their exposure. Naturally, bigger scales with larger captive audiences will lead to a bigger conversion rate of new fans. Whether that’s Bestival in the Isle of Wight, which is known for drawing in all kinds of genres of artists, or the can’t-miss Leeds and Reading festivals, artists want to be in on the action. Without these successful summers, being booked for nationwide gigs could well be much tougher. Sure, having solid industry connections will have its merits, but ultimately, these big festivals are the places to go large and be heard. 

Coronavirus has changed daily life for everybody, there’s no denying that. Some are suffering unimaginably, while others are able to get by and simply tackle their routine differently. But for artists, this is crucial crunch time that they may never get back. All I can say is, let’s keep everything tightly crossed that festivals will be rescheduled and not totally scratched off the agenda. 


Image: still taken from Loyle Carner’s Glastonbury 2019 set, via BBC iPlayer.

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