With the news that Reading and Leeds festivals are planning to go ahead later this year it got me to thinking about what motivates us to do things. As a musician I totally understand how it’s important to get things moving. But at what cost?
A Green Light Shouldn’t Always Mean Go
The government have announced its plan that, subject to favourable data, certain things will start opening up again. This is of course excellent news. However, I can’t help but think that people are jumping the gun. Social Distancing will remain in place for a good while yet. The vaccinations aren’t a cure. So is it really a good idea to organise events where thousands of people are going to be in close proximity to each other?
Yes, it’s great to have live music and events. Yes, the arts need to get going or it’s going to be a death knell. But organising a festival where potentially thousands will attend, seems to be a little short sighted or totally driven by ego (or both). Part of the fun of a festival is being able to jump about and dance with not only people you know, but complete strangers too. That can’t be safe during a global pandemic! Being stuck in an individual pod or area is going to really have an impact on the atmosphere.
Small Is Better
Personally I feel that small events should be organised where it’s easier to police and keep safe and use the time to plan a really big reunion festival next year at the earliest. While I appreciate that great progress has been made with the pandemic and it’s treatment…doing things like a festival is just asking for trouble. Professionals need to play - it feeds their soul. I get that. Totally. But should they really consider playing in front of a crowd for the sake of their ego? What is a professional anyway? The definition is actually quite clear - it’s just some people like to move the goalposts to suit their own ends.
A professional musician, by definition, “is one who plays an instrument or several instruments proficiently; performing is their primary source of income”. That doesn’t mean that a music teacher who also plays is a professional musician. The teaching is the primary income, not the playing. A supermarket worker who plays several instruments brilliantly isn’t a professional musician - but perhaps should be! Even though I’ve been playing music for 39 years I wouldn’t class myself as a professional musician. I’m a teacher and life coach! There are plenty of ways to play with other people…it doesn’t have to be on such a massive scale.
If the festivals do go ahead and then we end up with another lockdown Christmas who’ll be at fault? The ones who organised a festival because they could or the ones who attended the festival….because they could? Yes, life is for living and we all want to get back to some form of adjusted familiarity…but should we really risking putting the lives of thousands at risk? Start small, build up. Think of the bigger picture…not the close up of this year!
Of course this is just my opinion and some will no doubt read it in a negative way. I just feel that we need to look at our reasons for doing something. I feel that while it’s great to have a green light, the sensible thing would be to just start off small. Feel the mood of the country!