Let’s start by a question. What has changed since the day when the first Covid-19 case was discovered?
We now know for sure that it cannot be cured, that this shit spreads freely everywhere in the world, that we are waiting for a so-called “second wave” and that we must not believe that hot, humid, cold weather or some French (or from any country) miracle can stop this epidemic.
Of course, clusters are dealt with, patients are managed better in intensive care, we pay more attention to our day to day lives, and much more; but as long as a vaccine has not been developed and a good vaccination coverage reached in France and elsewhere worldwide, we will walk on an unstable, unpredictable, unbearable wire and our beautiful carelessness, which is so important, will take the dust, or even get wrinkles.
Normal life has indeed resumed, and almost ordinary work as well. Means of transportation link our lives again, the school bells ring, we can play tennis or sit on a café terrace with a book, but we’ve cut off part of our culture.
The Live shows and events, which are mainly staged in indoor large halls, the clubs and the discos, everything that is built and fed by a large, dense and active audience is lifeless. Sacrificed.
For the spectators it is sinister, for the technicians, the artists and the whole ecosystem of the Live and event it is disastrous, but what is more serious still is this political chloroform, this small music of the lie of omission which holds our head underwater. “We will see”, “In principle”,”A loosening of the restrictions is possible”, “Subject to sanitary conditions”…
This sounds like a bad doctor in front of a patient who is just asking for the truth
No one knows how this pandemic will evolve and, to avoid difficult tomorrows, the French government even writes black and white “that we are preparing the country for a possible second epidemic wave”. On the other hand, we know very well that without a vaccine, we will not be able to bypass distancing and re-authorize full gauges in any major hall without making the public and the organizers take risks.
And the solutions for ending the lockdown with a mix of sanitizing gel, sanitary masks and empty seats between spectators are neither attractive to an audience to which who are trying to make forget the very idea of party, nor even less profitable for an artistic and very technical environment which has been sinking into oblivion and deep crisis for 4 months now.
So, the cinema theaters are reopening in reduced capacity? Great. With its profitability at 25% of occupied seats and a spectator wisely seated in silence, the Silver Screen industry can afford it, but it is the opposite of the live show where at less than 75% audience capacity, the producer can sink, and where a seated and silent room rhymes with artistic nightmare and less gig dates.
We don’t want virtual reality, holograms on iPhones, home concerts and taped festivals, but if it has to be our daily routine until future vaccine spread, say it once and for all. The women and men of the entertainment and events industry, their suppliers, the manufacturers of their gear, all are grown-ups.
We want the truth, we need it. The speech of political courage must be one and only one: “No, the Live show and event Industry will not be able to restart without distancing and at full capacity, but yes, we will help you to hold on until the vaccine is here, and we will support you even afterwards, during your long economic recovery. ”
If, for the health of each and every one, we still have to wait, then let’s quickly sit down around the meeting table and build together a Support Plan for the Performing Arts, Night and Event Industries, which could take up and amplify what has already been done and fill the countless gaps of current public aids.
Without all that, and if one day we are turned on again like a Christmas garland, countless light bulbs will stay turned off forever.
Signed by tens of thousands of workers and thousands of companies.
Text & photos: Ludovic Monchat