1919’s Rio Goldhammer: how covid and Brexit are still keeping musicians vulnerable.

Image: 1919 (Facebook)

Nothing better celebrates a step back to normality than the return of live music. Even though it’s both difficult and dangerous to say how long lifted restrictions will last, that shouldn’t stop us from welcoming back gigging with open arms (although perhaps not literally, quite yet).

Rio Goldhammer (left of image), front man for Bradford post-punks 1919, gave Soundwave a glimpse into the effects the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have on the music industry; specifically how hard it has been for independent musicians and small venues.

The pandemic made things difficult for 1919 to get shows at any kind of music venue, especially with the government moving “Freedom Day” back to July 19th. Ahead of a the band’s new album that came out on the 25th June, Goldhammer explained that the band managed to find some gigs around the country but opportunities for shows remained sparse, understandably due to hesitation from venues, musicians and fans alike.

“I booked [some gigs] in August, including Parish in Huddersfield and one in London, [I’ve] got another couple penned in as well. Edinburgh and somewhere else. But we’ve got a sort of reluctance on the parts of some venues to move these [until] lockdown is definitely lifted.”

Fortunately, Goldhammer’s 1919 booked gigs for August to have more confidence about the events going ahead.

“I’ve allowed for that little bit of a buffer,” he said. “So if we may be extended by another month, we’ll still be okay just about, starting the first week of August when we’re supposed to be playing. But I think, like I mentioned before, we’ve also got an issue where people are reluctant to actually buy tickets for these things until they know it’s definitely going to go ahead.” 

Goldhammer had a strong feeling lockdown was going to be extended due to previous rule changes going down to the wire. This makes it hard for the music industry to plan ahead. “The lack of finality is one of the hardest things for the whole music industry to deal with”, he said. When asked about what measures he would like to see put in place for large scale events, Goldhammer suggested testing for fans upon entry. He also proposed events being exclusive to people who have had at least one jab.

These measures in theory would allow for more events to take place, helping the industry to recover. However, Goldhammer did acknowledge that some venues need as many people through the door as possible to cover costs. Some of the covid measures put in place could do more harm than good, especially for small independent venues.

He also explained that many music events have constantly been rescheduled, because many of these venues would not to be able to afford refunds.

Goldhammer added that 1919 has had issues selling merchandise due to Brexit, and more specifically with the new taxes that come from shipping to the EU. This is a problem because buying merchandise is one of the best ways to support musicians during a pandemic. 5000 streams are generally equivalent to one t-shirt sale.

As more people get vaccinated and indoor performances slowly return, Rio Goldhammer, 1919 and all of us at Soundwave hope that independent musicians and small venues can get back on track sooner rather than later.

Grab tickets to see 1919 here: https://1919.co.uk/live

1 Comment

  1. went to the Parish gig was second gig since March last year was fantastic 1919 had to change support due to support being pinged lots of friends couldn’t go as isolating one day out of isolation myself didn,t have it but someone in my bubble tested possative all I can say thank you 1919 but this is not over by a long way

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