Op-ed: Is It Too Early For Promoters And Venues To Rebook Events?

At 9:00 p.m. EST on March 16, 2020, the state of Ohio closed its music venues and other forms of the service and entertainment industry because of the current world situation.

For many, myself included, that meant the immediate layoff of thousands of hard-working people that strive to make your nightly experiences memorable, including the musical artists that are paid to perform in front of you.

Soon after, every worldwide music venue was forced to scratch gigs, flights, and hotels for incoming talent, while promoters were praying the artist agencies would hold the artist fees over until the rescheduled show.

But, now only a week in, and we’re already seeing promoters rebooking shows at venues with a prayer that the all-clear will be given in time for their event.

In addition, new gigs are being announced with June as the general consensus month when a sense of normalcy will once again welcome the millions of people who are held hostage in their homes out of fear and government mandate with no end in sight.

We, as a society, are accustomed to information at our fingertips with split-second answers to any question we may have thanks to the internet. This, in turn, leads to frustration and discontent when that information is not readily available to us. And, because of all this, the average attention span of a human being is now seven seconds, hence the reason some YouTube ads are only five seconds.

We have become desensitized by the outside world from what is written on social media, and our need for the continual endorphin rush of likes and comments. In other words, it’s the same morphine effect meant to ease the pain and realization of what is happening around us. And, without this morphine, our bodies begin the genuine physical and mental withdrawal process.

Humans today are led to believe that if everything is copacetic within the four walls of their blinder-wearing lives, the problems of the outside world don’t exist because it doesn’t immediately affect them, or it’s not brought to their attention. But, if an issue that strikes a chord is presented, they give an instant, emotional-based reaction, feel better about themselves for doing so and instantly move on. Again, if it doesn’t immediately affect them, they move on. Everyone, to an extent, has been guilty of this. Some more than others.

These are just a few of many examples of how the human brain is easily manipulated by what we believe to be an essential priority.

So, with all of this said, not since WWII or the Great Depression have people been forced to fend for themselves. Again, if it doesn’t affect them directly, it doesn’t exist. This is the first time for many, and quite frankly, they’re not very good at it.

We want normalcy (whatever that is). We want our everyday way of life to return, which, granted, is far more comfortable than it was just 50 years ago. I often think what it would be like to be alive during different time frames of our history dating back to when man first evolved on this planet. It’s fascinating to think about, really – from the mighty Ancient Egyptian ruled days to the Civil War and Little House on the Prairie era to even the 1950’s where forms of communication and knowledge were rotary phones, hand-written or typed letters and books. But today, we’re spoiled – absolutely spoiled. Yet, weren’t the prophets and kings of yesteryear also spoiled? It’s all relative, isn’t it?

So, what does all of this have to do with a DJ gig? Well, it’s our need for instant gratification – to set in place one part of a bigger picture that continues to grow exponentially.

But, what happens if this virus continues to egg itself on? Will the first rebooked events have to be rebooked again alongside the now second rebooked gigs that compete with all-new announced shows? And, all the while, playing a considerable guessing game of not competing with another date in your city from another promoter of the same genre.

Everyone will want to announce a huge show that celebrates the end of the quarantine at the same time, and it will take a while for the domino effect to subside. The question is: are we doing too much, too fast, in the hope and perhaps false certainty that the summer can be saved?

There is a thought that people must plan and be prepared during a historic time none of us have ever experienced. There is another thought of waiting it out, and once it’s over, we can begin anew. It’s a difficult situation, no doubt.

Is it also a legitimate concern that promoters and venues will go right back in booking well-known DJs to quickly recoup lost revenue from club patrons and not give the little guy a chance to play? Again, the instant gratification we all have come to know and love comes right back into play, doesn’t it?

Will artists take this time to actually practice the art of DJing, or will they continue to live stream only concentrating on the number of views in the upper left-hand window?

And, finally, will we really learn anything about ourselves and the true ramifications of what this virus has and will continue to do regarding the worldwide economy, or are we merely worried about our 401k’s and nothing more? Again, out of sight, out of mind.

In the end, only time will tell.

And, we just hate that, don’t we?

I welcome your comments in the section below.

Erik Lake

All this machinery making modern music can still be open hearted.

We invite your comments in the section below.