The festival summer is cancelled. People are sitting isolated at home. Concerts and major events in Germany are cancelled or postponed until the end of August due to the Corona pandemic. But we do not have to give up our beloved culture activities completely.
Creative solutions for cultural events
Leisure and cultural events require creative solutions in the Corona crisis. Organisers are working on formats that work well both online and offline: livestream festivals, digital living room concerts or drive-in cinema concerts. For example, the German artist Max Giesinger gave his first drive-in concert in his career as a musician, in addition to #wirbleibenzuhause-Festivals.
But not only the concert style is changing, the lyrics are also being rewritten and adapted to current proceedings. The well-known band Queen, for example, has also released a song in Corona edition and rewritten their world hit “We Are The Champions“ into „You Are The Champions“.
The music finds its alternatives! In the Corona crisis, culture becomes digital and thus brings people together again. Showing solidarity and being there for people in domestic isolation is the motto of many artists. But is that really an alternative in the long run? Or is the whole thing only temporary?
Celebrities get involved using their reach: fundraising campaigns for more solidarity in Corona times
Global Citizen, together with the World Health Organization WHO, organized a spectacular online event with many world-famous artists. A global TV and live streaming event supporting the WHO and all those who are at the forefront of the fight against the corona virus worldwide. The message behind it was very clear: stay home! Everyone is called upon to take the most important and efficient measure in the fight against the spread of the corona virus. And taking part is not difficult at all. All you had to do was: staying at home!
This is exactly the motto under which Global Citizen, together with the WHO, has organized a „historic event“: the gigantic online festival ‚One World: Together At Home! It emerged from #TogetherAtHome, a virtual concert series that aims to create a sense of cohesion in times of isolation. The benefit concert lasted 8 hours and generated donations of 128 million US dollars.
Local events are becoming digital
Even local events such as the Schlossgrabenfest in Darmstadt, which has taken place every year in the city centre since 1999, had to be cancelled this year with a heavy heart. The Hessian music festival usually features over 100 bands over four days, but this year it was called Schlossgrabenfest@Home for the first time. The Darmstadt provider for livestreams and videos vsonix supported the organizers by producing a free livestream.
With their action: Wir feiern Musik@Home (translated: We Celebrate Music@Home) they created a livestream for their visitors for the first time and broadcasted their livestream on YouTube and Facebook on the 16.04.2020. 18 bands performed live from home, while the band Strandakustik was guest in the studio of vsonix.
With a mixture of conversations, unplugged performances and video recordings of past Schlossgrabenfest performances, the stream reached a peak of around 1500 viewers at the same time and lasted over three hours. So far the stream has reached over 35 thousand hits on Facebook and YouTube (status: 04.06.2020, 12:45 Uhr).
We’re going digital
In all areas, people are now experimenting with technical possibilities. They are learning and working with digital tools. Schools are turning to online teaching, employers are sending their workforce to the home office. Barriers to the use of digital tools are thus removed and the digital competence of young and old is increasing.
Experts suspect that the trend of digital cultural offerings will continue and develop in the future. But has this trend also reached the cultural scene? Why are streamings a free service? Aren’t we prepared to attend online concerts and spend money on them? Or would all providers have to switch to paid content?
Could streamings be a substitute for live concerts?
However, it is also important to note that digitization brings with it many positive effects and new challenges. Artists are particularly affected. Free live streaming is no financial substitute for live concerts. Artists deserve to be paid. In Corona times live-streamings are offered for free or donations are asked for to give the „audience“ a feeling of solidarity. Rarely money is demanded for the streamings.
The ambivalent free culture on the net divides the musicians. While some live streamings from the artists‘ living rooms are started for promotional purposes, others look to the future and consider how they can turn their content into money, for example with small video clips in the social channels which then forward to an affordable full version.
Live streams are a sign of solidarity, but they are no financial compensation for the loss of earnings that musicians, technical and booking staff are currently suffering. After all, the live business accounts for two thirds of the total turnover in the music market.
In the current time, due to the many free live streams, there seems to be a kind of reluctance to ask for money for their own art on the net.
Digital platforms for artists are booming
With the live streaming that „United We Stream“ offer, not only live concerts but also DJ sets are put on the Internet in response to the closure of all venues due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
The streams not only present the artists, but also collect donations for an emergency fund. This should enable outstanding payments, such as rent, to be made. The format has meanwhile found worldwide acceptance. „The advantage is that you can listen to the stream all over the world and our DJs have fans everywhere. And because we are part of a global community, streams from us are also broadcast by arte concert every now and then. This is of course a great chance to present ourselves all over Europe“, says organizer Klaus Bossert in an interview with the Hessenschau (translated from German).
Solidarity fund for artists who do not receive emergency aid
Over 80,000 events throughout Germany had to be cancelled due to the Corona pandemic. Federal, state and local authorities have set up an emergency aid programme worth billions to support freelancers, solo self-employed persons and micro-enterprises from the cultural sector. But also freelance stage and sound technicians, lighting technicians, event helpers and all those involved in setting up, organising and implementing cultural events have to struggle with loss of revenue. For this reason #handforahand collects donations to support freelancers in the cultural sector.
Perhaps these new digital possibilities will change the perception of the fans and they will get used to visiting a concert online via streaming services more often. After all, digital solutions are currently helping to make culture and all events more appreciated again, and it is still uncertain how the trend will develop in the future.