[This was my column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]
For almost two years, COVID-19 saw to it that there was no live music. Tours stopped, roadies lost their gigs, venues suffered, and support staff were laid off. But once COVID restrictions were lifted, the industry came back to life, albeit with a non-insignificant degree of difficulty.
For example, Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley told me that when they returned to the road, they had to do it old-school in a van because no tour buses were available. Most had been parked for nearly two years and weren’t roadworthy yet. Supply and demand jacked the prices of any rental agency that did have buses available and those were taken by acts who could afford it. Sum’s buses ended up going to Metallica.
There were other problems. Many roadies who were thrown out of work left the industry and didn’t want to come back. Finding enough sound and light equipment to rent was hard. Many venues didn’t survive the lockdowns and had permanently shut their doors.
But this summer has seen a return to The Before Times. Concerts and festivals have been packed. And even as Taylor Swift and Beyonce are getting the most attention for hoovering up hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in box office revenue, other acts are doing well.