COVID-19 has taken an immense toll on the entertainment industry. As Sydney-based event organiser Mad Fer It Productions put it in a press statement announcing they’re temporarily closing, “the first thing to suffer in a crisis anywhere is the entertainment industry.”
With Prime Minister Scott Morrison now forbidding gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors, practically every event in the entertainment industry has forcibly halted. And, as the virus continues to spread in Europe and the U.S., event organisers are making the tough decision to postpone and for some, cancel their festivals, gigs, tech conventions and, even, your fave TV show’s new season.
While the government is yet to adequately support the people in these industries where they might not have any income for foreseeable months, organisations and initiatives like I Lost My Gig Australia, where Australians and New Zealanders in creative industries can list their cancelled gigs and turn to for support, are doing their best.
From Euphoria season two to the Sydney Writers’ Festival, here’s everything in entertainment affected by coronavirus.
From Vivid to Eurovision
First and foremost, Vivid, Sydney’s annual multimedia light show exhibit that has spectacles of colour in all big and expensive shapes and sizes (and some of the perf new profile pic opps, imo) has been cancelled.
The Sydney Writers’ Festival was scheduled to run from the 27th April to 3rd May. It boasted writers from all around the world and from various fields, including Asian-Australian writer Benjamin Law, actress Yael Stone, former Australian Greens party senator Scott Ludlam and Alice Oseman, the creator behind the adorable queer webcomic Heartstopper.
Eurovision, the celebration of all things camp, tacky, queer and fun in European pop culture, and arguably, ond one of the biggest broadcast turnouts on SBS each year, has had to cancel this year’s competition. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Europe is now the epicentre of the virus, so this isn’t as surprising but still blows. The Netherlands were set to host this year with indie pop star Montaigne to represent us. And, she had a banging track, too.
For the first time in its history, the Sydney Film Festival has been cancelled. It was planned to run from 3rd to 14th June.
Last year’s festival saw the Australian debut of Oscar-winning film Parasite with a special Q&A with director Bong Joon-Ho. Given that, we could only imagine what this year’s lineup would’ve been. In honour of all the hard work put behind it and making the films selected, people are pleading the SFF release the films either online temporarily or at the end of the year.
We’ll have to keep our giggles inside our homes and send jokes through texts, voice messages and our balconies, since Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival was pulled. According to the website, it’s one of the three biggest comedy festivals in the world, and was expected to run from 25th March to 19 April. Boo.
For us all us weebs out there, Sydney’s Manga and Anime Show (SMASH) is currently working on their decision to to continue the convention this year. If it goes ahead, the event will be held at Sydney’s ICC on 18th-19th July.
Nothing else matters in the world now that Euphoria is delayed
First and foremost, yes, the second season of Euphoria has been postponed indefinitely, and yes, we are not okay. Just days after Zendaya and the crew began filming season 2 of HBO’s aesthetically pleasing ‘glitter makeup fantasy’ TV show ft Tumblr teens, WarnerMedia Group told fans that they’d have to suspend filming to protect the health and safety of their staff.
Fortunately for them, no one involved in the project has currently been in contact with someone infected. Riverdale’s crew, however, suspended filming after a team member was in contact with someone who tested positive. The show is filmed in Vancouver, Canada, which has now closed its borders off from everywhere but the U.S.
Look, Riverdale is such a mess at this point and it has gone through so many different phases in its four season-long run. I would not be surprised if next season Archie gets infected with a Covid-19-like virus and Veronica has to compete in a talent show where the prize is the cure.
As cinemas in the U.S. and here start to close, so too are films being delayed. On 16th February, production company MGM announced that the next Bond film, No Time To Die, co-written by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridges with a musical theme performed by Billie Eillish, would be delayed. It marked the first film delayed because of Covid-19, now scheduled for late November.
Following MGM’s decision, Disney indefinitely postponed the release of Mulan, The New Mutants, Black Widow and The Personal History of David Copperfield, and Australian-made Peter Rabbit 2 and John Krasinksi’s The Quiet Place Part II followed.
According to The New York Times’ TV reporter John Koblin, Netflix is halting all of its scripted TV shows and films shot in the U.S. and Canada, including Strangers Things season 4 and Russian Doll season 2.
According to I Lost My Gig Australia, since last Saturday, small and medium sized businesses in creative industries have collectively lost $100 million to cancelled gigs. This includes performers, production management service workers, security staff, tech and sound guys, and hospitality workers, among, sadly, much more.
For those wanting an aural account, the non-profit organisation has made a playlist of every Aussie artist whose gigs were canned.
In response, some are pleading to mainstream radio stations to play Australian and New Zealand only music in hopes that the royalties will give artists some much needed financial support. Again, it’s not much but any little bit helps.
And, for those planning to go Splendour in the Grass, the event is being rescheduled to 23rd to 25th October at North Byron Parklands. As the event organisers press statement mentions, “Flume, The Strokes and Tyler, The Creator have all confirmed their attendance for these new dates alongside most others.” What a relief. Now, if only I had a ticket…
So, what can I do instead of going to my cancelled gig?
Coming to terms with the fact that our future plans are all up in the air and going out isn’t an option for the next three months at least can be scary. But, fortunately for you (and us, tbh) we’ve made a friendly list of tips and tricks for surviving the self-isolation and social distancing period.
If you need something to scratch your live music itch, there’s NPR’s back catalogue of Tiny Desk Concerts (including a recent one with my husband Harry Styles).
If you want something more specific, some artists, like Hiatus Kaiyote singer Nai Pam are live-streaming themselves performing, turning their bedrooms into DIY concerts for dedicated fans.
To help her angels cope, Charli XCX launched a self-isolation Instagram Live series with her and a number of the biggest pop stars right now, including Kim Petras, Rosalia and Christine and the Queens.
And, if you want to support local artists and entertainment folks who are out of work, you can donate to the I Lost My Gig Australia website.
If you are affected by any of these cancellations, or are or know someone who needs support, know that people, like BeyondBlue and the Lifeline Hotline (13 11 14 or texts at 04771 13 11 14), are available to listen.