Supporting Your Local Music Scene Has Never Been More Important

Image by Kieran Webber

Now Is The Time To Support Your Local Music Scene

Recently we covered how how brexit might affect U.K artists looking to tour In the EU and it brought up some interesting ideas. It was clear that touring the EU for many U.K artists is about to become difficult and expensive. Obviously this is less than ideal news and artists will feel the effects of this for years to come. However, there may be some glimmers of opportunity for touring artists based in the U.K.

What is needed is an introspective look at what we have in the U.K, we need to build on what is already in place and consider strengthening ties in the often forgotten areas of the this country. Ensuring that a strong infrastructure is in place to help artists looking to tour within the U.K. It may not be as big of a landmass as the continent of Europe but there are plenty of growing scenes dotted outside of the major cities.

Most bands when they head on tour they go to the bigger cities (such London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham etc), which makes total sense. You’re more likely to sell out a venue due to the larger population, getting to these cities is much easier and it is just considered the norm. However, outside of these hubs there are plenty of blossoming scenes that are being uplifted by dedicated venue promoters and booking agents. Not to mention a litany of music fans desperate to see their area be taken seriously by the larger music community. However, what we need to do now, during this crisis and post-Brexit is support your local scene. Help it become stronger and better than before.

This is only possible if we all work together, from top to bottom. This is why bands and artists should consider widening their horizons within the U.K. Heading to the larger hubs may make more sense financially but post-Brexit it may make more sense to look introspectively. Heading to places with strong, emerging scenes should be visited by touring bands. Areas such as Exeter, Falmouth, Hull, Leeds to name a few. For some artists, logistically this may not be viable. There just isn’t a venue to support certain artists. Cornwall for example does not have a venue large enough venue to support an artist as large as Royal Blood, the biggest and most appropriate venue is Princess Pavilions, Falmouth which has a capacity of 600 people. Although, it’s not crazy to imagine bands such as The Magic Gang or SHAME playing such a space. There is certianly is a call for it in the county. This is not unique to Cornwall though, there are examples of this all throughout the U.K.

This strengthening of the scene would lead to more local bands being given opportunities to play with larger, touring bands. Something that in turn would help them grow or even lead to them touring with said band. A self-fulfilling circle that sees everyone involved win. It is important to remember that even the biggest band started off playing smaller venues. We should support artists from beginning to end, not just when they’re famous.

This all may seem very hopeful and of course Covid-19 has put real pressure on the live music industry. However, before the pandemic it was clear to see an increase in live music, local music scenes were growing at a great rate and more bands were emerging out of said scenes. This may feel like a lifetime ago now but it will return. Once we leave the grips of this pandemic our music scenes will return and will grow again. We just had to hope that the music venues and bars survive during this uncertain time.

New York state respond to the ban on live music: “This guidance is not new”

After a ban on ticketed events effectively cancelled live music gigs in New York, NY SLA defended their decision saying regulations have been there since the start.

Last week, it was reported that no restaurants, bars and clubs in New York state can offer ticketed events, even if social distance measures are taken. This news came as a massive blow to musicians, effectively banning live music gigs.

Since many musicians and business owners spoke out about the decision, SLA doubled down saying nothing has changed and regulations have been in place since the start of the outbreak.

This guidance is not new — live entertainment activities, including all ticketed events, have been prohibited since New York went on PAUSE in mid-March to stop the spread of coronavirus. Thanks to New Yorkers’ hard work, we have achieved, and so far maintained, one of the lowest rates of infection in the country, but these high-risk gatherings would create exactly the situation we are trying to avoid, where people congregate, mingle, and create congestion at points of ingress and egress.

This week, after seeing an increase in establishments advertising ticketed events, the SLA clarified language on its website and proactively emailed all bars and restaurants to ensure they were aware of the months-old restrictions. New Yorkers need to remember we are still fighting a global pandemic — and with dozens of states facing outbreaks, we must continue to take the threat of spreading COVID at mass gatherings seriously.

SLA (New York State Liquor Authority)

Those hit by the regulations continue to voice their frustration, asking how restaurants can stay open seating customers 6 feet apart from each other, but not allow bands or comedians to perform in the same setting.

United Entertainment Industry Professionals of NY are reportedly considering taking legal action against the ban. A petition online has gathered over 13,000 signatures to overturn the ban.

New York state bans all ticketed events, effectively cancelling all live music gigs

After some venues re-opened their doors, new coronavirus guidelines have forced the doors of New York’s bars and restaurants offering live music to close.

All bars and restaurants in New York state offering any live music separately ticketed must close, after new guidelines come into effect. This is a huge blow to musicians’ living wage. Only unadvertised and unticketed “incidental music” is allowed, defined as:

Incidental music is non-ticketed, unadvertised performances that accompany and are incidental to a dining experience; i.e., patrons have come to dine, and the music provided is incidental to the dining experience.

SLA (New York State Liquor Authority)

This sudden change caught clubs and promoters off guard, as they are now cancelling shows booked for local and national musicians. “This is devastating. This effectively shuts me down again,” says Julie Leone, from The 443 Social Club & Lounge in Syracuse that re-opened its doors in the past few weeks.

Music Venue Trust welcomes UK Governments decision to allow indoor performances, but warns much more must be done

After the UK Government eased lockdown rules on live shows in England, Music Venue Trust warns that only a small percentage of venues will be financially able to re-open.

Venues were orignally scheduled to re-open on the 1st August in the UK, however this was pushed back moments before as COVID-19 infections increased. Last week, the UK Government announced that indoor performances could restart in England providing venues enforce social distancing measures, limited capacities and masks.

Music Venue Trust welcomed the easing, but says the majority of grassroots music venues are not financially able to re-open. They estimate only 100 of the venues it represents would be able to re-open under the new guidelines.

Further easing of lockdown for live performance is a symbolic moment, yet it remains extraordinarily difficult to resume events and gigs in an economically viable way. The government must ensure support measures for all aspects of the sector – including venues, festivals, musicians, performers and crew – are in place while many individuals and businesses in the sector still cannot get back to work.

Tom Kiehl, Acting Chief Executive, UK Music

While we welcome the Government’s announcement of the further easing of lockdown measures, this is still a long way off being back to normal for many businesses in the night time economy and events sector.
We still have many questions with regard to the operational conditions for opening these businesses, but would urge the Government to consider a more robust communication strategy with a realistic timeframe to allow businesses the opportunity to prepare for opening.
Nightclubs & Venues have once again been excluded from this announcement, but for a footnote to highlight that they must remain closed.
By the end of September 2020 we will see 70% of nightclubs and venues in the UK close for good, with thousands of jobs lost without a clear roadmap for re opening and further financial support during this extended period of lockdown.

Michael Kill, CEO, NTIA (Night Time Industries Association)

Viagogo the latest ticket company sued over COVID cancellations

Events ticketing companies have been hit hard by the cancellation or postponing of nearly all the year’s events but for many it’s hard to feel bad.

At the best of times, ticketing companies are in and out of controversy for excess charges, questionable refund policies, scalping problems, and so on. This year has seen Ticketmaster and then Stubhub face legal wrath over refunds of cancelled events, and now Viagogo are the latest to find themselves embroiled in a lawsuit.

A new suit opened in Florida accuses Viagogo of wrongly classing cancelled shows as postponed. Under their own terms, this allows the secondary event ticketing marketplace to avoid issuing refunds on their own guarantee scheme.

The lawsuit was opened by a fan who bought tickets to a Tool show through their platform which was then cancelled. The plaintiff found out that the show was cancelled through the band’s website, which stated that all Tool shows for the year were cancelled and not postponed.

The lawsuit states: “Plaintiff contacted defendant on multiple occasions from April through July. [Viagogo] indicated that the show was ‘rescheduled from its original date’ and that, ‘it was decided that tickets which had already been issued would remain valid for the new dates’.

Of course, how a ticket can continue to be valid for a non-existent event raised serious questions and now Viagogo find themselves facing a lawsuit.

Ticketing companies, like many industries around the world, have been pushed into a difficult position by COVID cancellations but it has been clearly established by now that customers want ticket refunds with no BS. If it could get worse, StubHub who faced legal action for refusing to issue refunds earlier this year are owned by Viagogo. It seems that ticketing companies will never learn.

INKA UPENDO’s blow-away performance – Part 1 now on RouteNote Sessions

INKA UPENDO blew our minds last year with her genre-spanning performance at the Fish Factory and now we’re proud to bring the highlights to you.

Following on from the wonderful series showing off Flòralyn’s performance from before Coronavirus shut gigs down, we have INKA UPENDO up next. From the same evening at the Fish Factory, INKA UPENDO blew us away with her incredible mix of live instrumentation, electronic music and on the spot production.

RouteNote Sessions will be bringing you three tracks from that evening over the next couple of weeks, here we have the first in ‘Surya’. There’s only so much we can say, you need to see and hear this performance for yourself – so without further ado…

Be sure to subscribe to stay tuned for more from INKA UPENDO’s performance on RouteNote Sessions over the next few weeks and whilst you’re at it check out the RouteNote Sessions’ Facebook page for more!



Routenote Sessions


UK’s live music industry warns of “complete collapse” without government support

Whilst the UK are re-introducing many parts of the economy that were shutdown by COVID, the events industry is set to be the last and faces severe damage.

Restaurants are back open, hairdressers are back, even the pubs are open for a pint with certain distancing rules. But it is still completely uncertain how long it will be until concerts of live music return.

It’s an understandable restriction, as anyone who has been to a well attended gig whether it’s in a bustling pub or a packed arena knows how crowded and close-knit they are. But without live events, artists and venues are suffering and they need support.

Hundreds of venues across the UK are turning their lights red to signal to the government that they need real support and clarity or else they may be forced to shutdown. With government support set to end soon, artists and businesses are at a loss with what will happen to them as there is no sign when they will be allowed to return amongst the chaotic shutdowns and re-openings caused by Coronavirus.

The government has committed £1.57 billion to support “cultural and heritage industries” but many involved in the live industry are omitted from the pledge. Many freelancers as well as others involved in the live industry but not necessarily directly through a business are worried about their livelihoods.

Organisers of the Red Alert campaign say: “Unlike other industries; events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance, and may not reopen until early 2021. With no government support on the horizon for the event supply chain, redundancies have already begun.

“Research indicates that 25% of companies will have served redundancy notices by end of August, this rises to 70% percent by the end of December.”

Tencent Music Entertainment launches livestreamed concerts, over 100m viewers already

China’s huge entertainment brand is counteracting the lack of concerts in a post-COVID 2020 with massively popular online concerts.

Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) is the music branch of China’s huge tech conglomerate China. With live music cancelled for much of the year and people around the world itching to get live music experiences back, TME Live has launched.

TME Live is releasing a series of livestreamed concerts which are based on the most popular songs of artists with high production value and easy interaction for fans. They describe the new branch as a “panoramic music live entertainment brand”.

So far they’ve released 15 shows which have pulled in 100 million views on TV. Chinese social media and blogging platform Weibo report that posts about the shows have had over 8 billion engagements since they’ve been launched and talked about.

Tencent Music Entertainment have indicated that around 1/5th of the digital music users in China are willing to pay to watch live music performances online. With the lack of in-person concerts, BTS entered the world records this year for their huge streamed concert and Tomorrowland recently pulled in over 1 million ticket-buyers to their completely online festival.

Tencent has over half a billion users across their music streaming services in China (roughly 657 million) meaning huge potential if even only 1/5th, as they suppose, were to pay for these new livestreamed concerts.

Over 1 million people went to Tomorrowland online this year

Tomorrowland wasn’t going to let 2020 miss out on the action so they threw a virtual festival and over 1 million people turned up to party from home.

To prove that the music won’t die even when we can’t be together, the huge festival of dance music Tomorrowland has set a new standard for virtual festivals. With Tomorrowland Around the World, they brought together more than 60 artists to put on massive concerts that all attendees could watch and dance along to from home.

To create the huge event the festival organisers put together 4 huge, green-screen studios around the world in Belgium, USA, Brazil, and Australia. From these spots they recorded artists including Katy Perry, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Eric Prydz, and many more to create a massive digital performance for each of them.

To make it feel as real as possible they used six 4k cameras to capture different angles and up to 38 different virtual cameras meant directors could pull out all sorts of shots for variety and realism as people raved from home. The digital concerts were packed full of laser shows, firework displays, even virtual crowds amongst many more special effects.

The show was huge, bringing in over 1 million people across the weekend all of whom had to pay to attend. To “go” to Tomorrowland Around the World it cost €20 for the weekend or €12 for a day ticket. This means that not only was the festival huge in it’s attendance but that they’ve racked up a decent revenue from it too.

This may well be vital to the festival’s continuity as many festivals have been shown to be struggling after cancelling this year’s plans. Even the organisers for Glastonbury, the huge and notorious UK festival, have told how they won’t be able to continue running if they’re forced to cancel next year’s events as well.

If you missed Tomorrowland Around the World you can still join the action as they’ve launched an on-demand version called ‘relive’. Ticket holders can access it with their passes whilst everyone can check it out for €12.50. 

Apple Music listeners can check out the artist mixes from the weekend on the streaming service now under Tomorrowland’s curator page.

Lollapalooza to stream Lolla2020 virtual festival live on YouTube

Lollapalooza are to host a four-night broadcast this weekend, streaming exclusively live on YouTube, with over 150 pre-recorded and live performances.

Streaming this Thursday 30th July – Sunday 2nd August, Lolla2020 will feature previous sets, original live performance and guest appearances from Paul McCartney, Chance the Rapper, Outkast, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vic Mensa, H.E.R., Kaskade, Alison Wonderland, Zhu, Perry Farrell, Michelle Obama, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, LL Cool J and more. The full schedule will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday).

Head to Lollapalooza’s YouTube channel this Thursday 6pm ET/5pm CT to watch the virtual festival for free.


This isn’t the first virtual festival we’ve seen this year, with streamed gigs such as Electric Blockaloo, Wireless Connect, and Live Nation & Budweiser Stage at Home.