Most bands rely on touring to make money and connect with their fans. With the health risks, travel restrictions, and lockdowns brought on by COVID-19, even the most famous musicians have had to get creative if they want to be able to perform.
Whether they raised money for charity, spent their holidays giving incredible performances for empty venues to create exciting livestreams, or just tried to make their fans feel a little closer together in this difficult time, these 6 musicians have gone above and beyond to entertain their fans during lockdown.
6 Ben Folds
Ben Folds was touring in Australia when the pandemic forced him to prematurely cancel his concerts, and remain in Sydney for the foreseeable future. Without live shows, Folds has found a new way to stay in touch with his fans and make money in the process – Patreon.
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Folds hosts four live streams a week, performing concerts for his fans from his apartment. Fans also have exclusive access to archive footage, and anything else Folds decides to post including songwriting tutorials, piano classes, and question and answer sessions. It’s been a tremendous success.
Although Folds only charges $10 per month per fan, he has earned enough to cover his entire rent in Sydney, as well as a new keyboard, guitar, and other gear he’s using to entertain his fans during his stay in Australia.
5 Carrie Underwood
Country singer Carrie Underwood spent her Easter Sunday giving back in more ways than one. First, she put on a virtual concert, called “My Savior: Live From The Ryman” for her fans to enjoy during the holiday – which many had to spend apart from their loved ones due to COVID-19. Then she gave the $112,000 that she raised from the event to the charity Save the Children.
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Underwood’s career usually keeps her extremely busy, but she’s had to find other things to keep her occupied in lockdown. When not performing in livestream concerts, the singer has shared that she has been baking with her kids, learning turkey calls, and keeping up with her fitness routine.
4 The Dropkick Murphys
Few bands have taken keeping the spirits of their fans up during the pandemic as seriously as the Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys. They started with a St. Patrick’s Day concert stream in 2020, and when Americans still found themselves staying in by March 17th of 2021 they did it all again!
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The streams were free to watch, but the band put a link to donate up on the screen: “Instead of charging for tickets, we’re going to ‘pass the virtual hat’ so you can donate what you’d like to help support us in our efforts to keep paying our employees. When we did the first two free live streams for charity, our fans were super generous and we raised lots of money for good causes,” founder Ken Casey said in a statement. “But frankly, we’ve been out of work for over a year, so this one, we’ve gotta make about us. Of course, a portion will also go to charity, as always!”
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Classic alt band Radiohead have also been doing their part to encourage fans to stay at home, but in a slightly different way. Rather than livestreaming new shows, Radiohead have been releasing rare footage of classic live shows on their official YouTube channel.
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“Now that you have no choice whether or not you fancy a quiet night in, may we draw your attention to these entertainments?” Radiohead suggested on their instagram, “We will be releasing one a week until either the restrictions resulting from current situation are eased, or we run out of shows. Which will be first? No-one knows.”
2 Ben Gibbard – Death Cab for Cutie
The lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie has been performing in livestreams regularly from his home during coronavirus quarantine, to help his fans feel more connected, even while apart.
“I know you are all really freaked out right now. I am, too. And while I’m proud that we’re all doing the necessary things at the moment to help flatten the curve, I know it has left us all incredibly isolated,” Gibbard said in a statement posted on his instagram, “But because we’re all going through this nightmare together we are quite literally NOT alone. Our lives and stories are all linked, maybe more now than they have ever been.”
Gibbard also wrote a song, titled “Life in Quarantine” in benefit of the Seattle non-profit Aurora Commons, which benefits those experiencing temporary homelessness.
Metallica is a band that is famous for playing massive arena gigs, but with quarantines all around the world that certainly isn’t possible.
The heavy metal icons have a virtual concert series called #MetallicaNondays which allow their fans to tune in on YouTube or Facebook every week – though some have noted that “Metallica Monday” isn’t actually always on a Monday, so fans wanting to make sure they catch the shows live should make sure to subscribe.
“Boredom sets into the boring mind…” — Nickelsdorf 2012#fbf#BlackAlbum2021?
Metallica’s Lars Ulrich went on Skavlan to talk about the impact COVID-19 has had. While Ulrich is optimistic about getting back to playing those massive venues in the future when vaccinations were widespread, he also entertains the possibility of creative alternatives. “There are some options… Down in Denmark they’ve had some drive in concerts and we’re looking at options with virtual. Maybe we play and those concerts get broadcast to different places.”
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Sources: People, Taste of Country, Consequence Sound, What Hifi, CBS Boston, CNBC, Skavlan, Aurora Commons, Grammy Awards
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