Weekly losses of €1.5m for live music venues amid coronavirus crisis
Association of Concert Venues of Catalonia reports 340 cancelled gigs already with more to come
Catalonia’s live music venues are experiencing weekly losses of €1.5 million due to the coronavirus lockdown of society.
As part of the state of alarm declared by the Spanish government earlier in March, all concert halls and bars have shut down, only to reopen when it is safe to do so.
Using figures from last year’s high season for concerts, which occurs in the months of March-April as well as October-November, the Association of Concert Venues of Catalonia calculates the weekly losses as €1.5 million for live music venues.
All in all, the public health emergency is affecting 80 venues linked with the Association of Concert Venues of Catalonia, and 1,600 staff, plus further freelance staff who would work on technical, advertising, and social media jobs.
The group also say that 340 concerts have already been canceled because of the coronavirus crisis, while more are surely set to be called off. Among the acts who have had performances canceled are James Blake and Metronomy, while acts such as Dua Lipa, Bon Iver and Harry Styles have all pushed their performances in Catalonia back a year.
Some venues, such as Sala Zero in Tarragona, are preparing temporary layoffs for "waiters, technicians, security personnel, production and administration," one of the venue’s owners, Àngel Lopera laments, while other spaces like Sala Red Star in Valls may be forced to close permanently.
Edu Ortega, one of the directors of Sala Red Star, is pessimistic about the situation. "We are negotiating loans with banks and trying to delay payments to reopen," he explains.
Lopera explains that some concerts are able to be pushed back to the autumn, but others will be more complicated, either because they already have concerts scheduled for those dates or because the musicians have other commitments.
"We've been left with a black hole," Lopera laments. Ortega expresses similar downcast expressions, saying "concerts that cannot take place now, it will be complicated to rearrange because we will have to coordinate dates with musicians."