The Music Beat

Concerts Are Canceled So Let’s All Dance in Our Living Rooms

Mary Grace Ritter | The PhoenixThe Growlers’ guitarist Kyle Straka gets tied up in his guitar cord during the set Sept. 7.

Columns are basically just publically written therapy, right? I mean, that’s what I’m telling myself as I write this.

Unless you’ve already self-quarantined and cut yourself off from the world for the past few months, you know coronavirus has turned everyone’s worlds upside down. With 160 cases of coronavirus in Illinois, a slough of bans, closures and cancelations have left the sports and entertainment industries especially frazzled.

But our Sports Editor Nick Schultz already addressed the sports side of things so I’m venting about the music world. 

Music is so cool because it’s inherently both a communal and individual experience. It was made to be screamed from the mosh pit and listened to alone in your room at 3 a.m. Both experiences are equally valid and important to the art of music, but one of them isn’t really an option right now. 

Just about every concert in the near future has been canceled or postponed.

Quite frankly, it sucks. It’s leaving many fans disappointed and many musicians and crew members without a paycheck. 

The hardest part is, all these cancelations are absolutely the correct decision. It would be so dumb for hundreds of people to gather in a cramped room right now. But, man, what I would give for that.

I, like many music lovers, use concerts as an escape from reality. For a couple of glorious hours, the outside world doesn’t exist and my biggest concern is catching my breath between songs. 

Now that escape has been taken away and reality has been thrown in my face even more so than before. Loyola recently announced all its classes would be online for the rest of the semester and canceled almost all upcoming events. This completely altered how senior year will look, from my final art projects to my work with The Phoenix. And on top of all that one of my fish died (R.I.P. Fred).

There was a lot I, like many of my classmates, was looking forward to.

There were at least six different tours coming through Chicago this month, some of which I already had coverage lined up for. I haven’t gotten the chance to photograph a show since November. I’m having withdrawals.

But this isn’t permanent. The spreading of the virus has already slowed in South Korea and Wuhan, China, so there’s hope for us.

Concerts will be rescheduled, the artists will go on tour again and in the meantime, we can have quarantined dance parties.

But those Spotify and Apple Music streams aren’t going to bring in anywhere near the same revenue as ticket and merch sales at the show. So until we can file back into our favorite venue, consider supporting artists in another way. Buy some merch from the band’s website. Buy the album on iTunes or Bandcamp.

Many tour photographers I admire are selling more prints, so you can pick up a stellar photo of your fave directly from the artist.

After that bit of retail therapy, don’t forget to take care of yourself. These are weird times leading to weird emotions. Channel that — create something. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even good. Just a little time spent making something to release that energy usually released at a concert can help ease the chaos.

Whether it’s writing a song, doodling or writing a column, find something.

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