Summertime. For many, this is the time for dancing in a mud-ridden field until they can’t feel their feet, drinking ciders for breakfast, lunch and dinner (again, until they can’t feel their feet), and camping for a long weekend, surrounded by music and friends.
Unfortunately this year, the picture is a lot more different. Sure, the toilets are much cleaner, our livers are saved (at least for the most part), and our bed isn’t a roll mat that just about separates our faces from the earth. But there’s very few things in life that bring thousands of people together quite like music.
And it’s not just the fans who enjoy it, but even more so the artists who get the opportunity to perform their music to them. So, with concerts postponed and summer festivals cancelled for the year, this has left those in the music industry at a loss. Swindon-based rock band GETRZ are among the many who have experienced the impact of Covid-19 on their ability to perform live. Speaking to the band’s bassist, Toby Pollitt, he explains further how this pandemic has changed their concert plans for the year.
“Covid has proper slammed our festival and live circuit gig,” he says, “we had all of our shows pretty much cancelled, with some being postponed to a later date in 2020.”
Pollitt continues to mention that as well as festivals, local bands like GETRZ are dependent on pubs and local venues to make their dent on the music industry. Whilst pubs were able to open from the 4th July, they are still refrained from playing live music, due to the potential risk of infected droplets travelling further by singing. “We rely heavily on grass root venues to play and make a name on the smaller scenes and not having those really slows the pace.”
Despite this lull in the music industry, this hasn’t prevented the band from moving their music online. With Zoom parties and social media platforms now becoming the new norm for communication, GETRZ have used this opportunity to continue to reach out to fans as well as stay in contact with each other whilst apart. “We’ve used a lot of Instagram live sessions both to connect with the fans and to talk to members of other bands to noodle each other’s minds and to have a chat,” Toby continues. “luckily with social media and the online platforms we have, the closure of pubs and live venues hasn’t completely cut off progression for us.” The band even recently started ‘the Rockcast’, on their SoundCloud, a podcast created to celebrate new and emerging artists.
Outside of Swindon and into the mainstream media, it seems that in recent weeks, there has been an outburst of appreciation for the arts industry more than ever, with over 66,000 posts using the hashtag #SAVETHEARTS on Instagram alone, in a bid to keep the vulnerable industry running whilst their doors remain shut. With the government announcing a £1.57bn support package for the industry on the 5th July, it seems the campaigning has worked, and Pollitt emphasises the importance of this initiative even further.
“I think it’s essential to keep the arts industry afloat and supported during these times.” He continues: “weirdly enough, although I listen to music constantly, Covid really made me appreciate it more, and I think a lot of people will realise that.”
Whilst the world slowly gets back to reality, it may be a while before we find ourselves back in the fields once more with a cider in hand and music ringing through our ears. But until it does, that doesn’t mean that the music cannot continue to play- whether if it’s just sat at home watching re-runs of Glastonbury, or tuning into one of GETRZ live Instagram sessions.
“It’s at the lowest of moments when the music helps us all,” says Toby, “and when the live scene returns I’m sure it will be humongous!”
You can find a link to GETRZ Spotify page by clicking here, and you can follow them on their Instagram @getrzband to find out when they will be doing live sessions at home.