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Started by SueC, March 24, 2020, 11:48:24
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QuoteA half-year into a pandemic that has threatened to sink entire industries, people are turning to the guitar as a quarantine companion and psychological salve, spurring a surge in sales for some of the most storied companies (Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor) that has shocked even industry veterans.Guitars are hardly the only consumer item to experience a quarantine bounce, of course. Sales have spiked for many items since lockdowns began -- bicycles, baking yeast, board games, yoga mats, beans and even Everclear, the 190-proof spirit.But a guitar is not a bag of lentils. A new guitar usually requires an investment of several hundred dollars, if not several thousand, and new players and virtuosos alike often live with their trusty ax for years, bonding with it as a statement of personal taste and style.
Quote"Launching a live music venue in the midst of a global pandemic is not something I'd advise," Pennington says with a wry laugh.He got the keys to the building in January, before Covid was really on the radar, initially planning to open in April with a capacity of 350. When the government gave the go-ahead for indoor venues to reopen in England with social distancing in August, Pennington didn't want to wait much longer.As well as hosting gigs, Future Yard will offer training for 16- to 24-year-olds in the live music industry, and rehearsal and recording spaces for new local artists."It's just really important that we could get open," Pennington said on Thursday. "That comes with great pressures financially and also operationally, but it's something we feel like we've got to do."If we'd just sat here and mothballed and waited to the point where it made absolute financial sense, potentially it could have been years before we opened."Our primary motivation is to really think how we can use a venue like Future Yard to be a positive influence for the local community. We're here to use music as a powerful lever for social change. This is a moment when we're needed more than ever, so we just had to find a way of getting open."One venue that has already opened recently is the NE Volume Bar in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside, where 32 people can sit at 11 socially-distanced tables. The full capacity should be 110. So far, they have hosted a mixture of singer-songwriters and bands playing stripped-back acoustic sets."It's still a good atmosphere," says co-owner Adam Allcock. "People aren't standing up and going wild. Our customer base is quite nice. They're there for the music, so they want to listen to the music anyway. It's all been going fine. No-one's had to be told to settle down or stay in their seat or anything like that."Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venues Trust, says 84 of the organisation's 900 members have staged some live music so far since lockdown, but just 13 are doing so regularly.