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Author Topic: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?  (Read 1242 times)

Mike Monte

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Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« on: October 13, 2020, 09:26:58 am »

I live in an area of New England that has a decent club scene but more so has a vibrant wedding scene.

As of this writing most of the restaurants that booked live music have added tent (think 40x20+) dining and have foregone the music.
Hey, they're doing what they can to survive......no more packed venues...

It's October and it's getting chilly up here after an exceptionally warm summer.....but, it's October in N.E.
In my area "October", to most, means: haul the boat, winterize the jetski/camper/air conditioner, check the woodpile, rake a s**t ton of leaves, check the car batteries, aka: hunker down for the winter
plus
no more outside dining......
If it goes below 60 degrees, people tend go to indoor restaurants or stay home and wait for snow.......  I doubt that people will want to sit in an open tent (even with heaters) when it's 40 degrees outside.....let alone 20 degrees....

Restaurants in my area have very little indoor seating available due to social distancing....  Once the outdoor dining shuts down I am sure that more places will fold........

Quite a few of the performance venues in my are "restaurant by day, live music venue by night" scenarios.  Pre-Covid this formula seemed to work well.
I hope that those places survive.......

Part of me wants to think that the club/restaurant with live music scene will bounce back stronger than ever post-pandemic.  The other part of me isn't too sure.....

If I were an investor (which I am not) I would have an eye on a few places that could rise from the ashes after Covid... 

The wedding scene has all-but-shut down; some couples have cancelled, some have gone to town hall, some have postponed until next year......

Some of the high-end venues in Newport that routinely accommodate two to three $50,000+ weddings per week have zero activity.
What was once a lucrative wedding music scene is minimal at best....

I am sure that some of the mansion wedding venues in Newport are (or will be) up for sale and will be scooped by a million/billion-aire (as was the case for past wedding venues Astor's Beechwood, Hammersmith Farm, Belcourt Castle..).

The scene will be different post-Covid, that's for sure.

I've taken this time to upgrade my basic light rig, but have held back on other PA upgrades due to lack of funds.....
My liability insurance policy came due June 1st and despite being offered a discounted rate (yeah, right) by the agent, I let it lapse - which was a smart move for me as all of my sound-related gigs eventually vanished through January, 2021.

If/when things get going I'll re-up on the above.

I am thinking at least a year after a vaccine/treatment is available things will recover....but to what level?

People are getting used to staying home/cooking/entertaining themselves...

What do you think things will look like when the dust settles?










   
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2020, 11:23:01 am »


{snip-ish}

The scene will be different post-Covid, that's for sure.

I've taken this time to upgrade my basic light rig, but have held back on other PA upgrades due to lack of funds.....
My liability insurance policy came due June 1st and despite being offered a discounted rate (yeah, right) by the agent, I let it lapse - which was a smart move for me as all of my sound-related gigs eventually vanished through January, 2021.

If/when things get going I'll re-up on the above.

I am thinking at least a year after a vaccine/treatment is available things will recover....but to what level?

People are getting used to staying home/cooking/entertaining themselves...

What do you think things will look like when the dust settles?

Hi Mike-

If you've got a working crystal ball, you're doing better than me (bring back the Analogue Crystal Ball!).

There are so many facets to entertainment, hospitality and general venue-ness that I'm not sure exactly what to say except that it will be alarmingly different for some sectors and more easily recovered in others.

Weddings will come back, especially the posh wedding biz.  People will continue to get married and those with money or aspirations will resume putting on Really Big Matrimonial Shows.  For operators like you, it's a question of will they come back in time to aid in your financial recovery... actually, that's the question regardless of the size, type, or perceived hoity-toitiness of an event.

But venues?  The bigger they are, the longer it will take for them to hold full-audience events.  I expect the businesses behind many *entertainment* venues to fail.  Their entire existence is predicated on 70% or more capacity along with "average guest check" sales.  Neither can be done now, and there's little to nothing that can be done to lower their fixed costs - rent/mortgage, utility costs, taxes/insurance, legal and accounting, spoiled inventory, wages for the 1 or 2 people remaining, etc.  Months ago I said that many production providers were already dead, they just didn't know it yet, and venues are very much in the same boat.  The difference is that most venues had the inkling and now they're looking at the end of their money, time, and ability to save their businesses.

So how many will close for good?  Hard to say, but I'd happily season, grill and eat my hat if it's less than 35%.  I'm expecting a majority of small business venues to sell out, get repurposed, or simply close for good under their existing ownership.  There's money in amusing the public, though, and those who've not already lost their collective asses (i.e. have capital to invest) will find their way into such businesses.  How soon, etc are open questions.

I still "believe" in live entertainment.  If I had 10 more years before full Social Security retirement age (instead of 2) I'd be inclined to find some investment capital and start buying distressed assets.  But without that working crystal ball, the unknown wait stops me.

So the TL;DR crowd - expect half the entertainment/social venues of all types to close under their current ownership.
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2020, 07:50:55 pm »

People are getting used to staying home/cooking/entertaining themselves...

Yes but a significant percentage are literally loosing their minds, "mental health during covid" has become a common talking point on media sources which is understandable.. people really don't like being hemmed in so I expect they will go right back to their previous behavour once the coast is clear. Bars and restaurants were bad investments before covid and only the best managed survived then, so without a doubt some venues will close but that just leaves more business for the others. I predict a bit of a rebound bubble perhaps middle to late next year in the wedding market at least, there will be a backlog of couples that have waited which are just going to be added to the list of those that were planning on 2021 anyway, so it has to potential to be really busy with events occurring all week long not just on the weekends.
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Jay Marr

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2020, 10:30:26 pm »

Hey Mike,
I'm assuming you're in RI.  I live a little north of Boston and gig down in NPT sometimes.
My buddies band (Never In Vegas) played indoor at the Dockside all summer.  That club is normally insane.  This year, it was just weird.
Fraction of the capacity, no dancing, no gathering at the bar. 
That's over now (now that the summer is over), and who knows if clubs like that will make it until next year.

Two of my regular venues have closed their doors for good (both in NH).  I suspect we will see more of this over the winter.  The clubs that were holding on for a green light to open again, are not getting it (until 2021 is my guess), and I'm sure that's going to force a lot of them to close their doors.
I think when the bars/clubs get the approval to open again, the music scene will be experience a big reset button.
Bars will have new owners (or at least new booking agents) and we'll all have to re-market our bands.  And most importantly - the will undoubtedly change the pay. 
It already happened with the few places I know that did have musical acts this summer.  Pay was cut in half (even at one bar in NH that was packed shoulder to shoulder.....I still don't know how they got away with it).
Bars up here are always looking to cut band pay.  This is going to be a good opportunity for them to do it universally (which sucks for us).

My band is already having this conversation:  when music returns to our favorite bars and clubs - will we even be looking to play there again, given all the factors above?
Maybe it's not worth the money any longer?  Maybe the venues are just too restrictive and it's not fun? (which is a factor for me)  Maybe the band members get a little older and a little more comfortable being home every weekend and don't want to get back into it again?
Covid has completely destroyed the old music scene, and only time will tell if the new music scene is something we'll all want to be a part of.
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Robert Lofgren

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2020, 03:54:06 am »

When I visited Nashville a couple of years ago I remember a large/long street with loads of music bars side by side. Is that a dead street now or are they still hanging in there?
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Mike Monte

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2020, 07:40:46 am »

Hey Mike,
I'm assuming you're in RI.  I live a little north of Boston and gig down in NPT sometimes.
My buddies band (Never In Vegas) played indoor at the Dockside all summer.  That club is normally insane.  This year, it was just weird.
Fraction of the capacity, no dancing, no gathering at the bar. 
That's over now (now that the summer is over), and who knows if clubs like that will make it until next year.

Two of my regular venues have closed their doors for good (both in NH).  I suspect we will see more of this over the winter.  The clubs that were holding on for a green light to open again, are not getting it (until 2021 is my guess), and I'm sure that's going to force a lot of them to close their doors.
I think when the bars/clubs get the approval to open again, the music scene will be experience a big reset button.
Bars will have new owners (or at least new booking agents) and we'll all have to re-market our bands.  And most importantly - the will undoubtedly change the pay. 
It already happened with the few places I know that did have musical acts this summer.  Pay was cut in half (even at one bar in NH that was packed shoulder to shoulder.....I still don't know how they got away with it).
Bars up here are always looking to cut band pay.  This is going to be a good opportunity for them to do it universally (which sucks for us).

My band is already having this conversation:  when music returns to our favorite bars and clubs - will we even be looking to play there again, given all the factors above?
Maybe it's not worth the money any longer?  Maybe the venues are just too restrictive and it's not fun? (which is a factor for me)  Maybe the band members get a little older and a little more comfortable being home every weekend and don't want to get back into it again?
Covid has completely destroyed the old music scene, and only time will tell if the new music scene is something we'll all want to be a part of.

I live 30 mins north of Newport so I'm close enough to gig/enjoy its scene but then retreat to my quiet town.
I've seen Never In Vegas advertised in Npt (at the Pelham if I remember correctly) but have not had a chance to catch their show..
Newport was a bit weird this past summer as, for the most part, many younger tourists were walking around as if nothing had changed...but..there were really no places to "howl" for the 21 y/o's as has been the past; Pelham, Blues Cafe, etc. were sedate....

I got a call to do a walk-in mix at the Dockside a couple of years ago but I was previously-booked so I didn't take it.
I did visit the venue one afternoon just to see the layout...  It's an "earthy" kind of place that "packs them in" (according to my son) during the summer months.

I totally agree that gig pay (for clubs, etc.) will definitely take a hit due to several factors; bands just wanting to play, venues on a shoestring budget, etc.
I feel that the Covid crutch will be used by venue managers to squeeze musicians long after the bar/club scene recovers.....

As far as cutting a band's pay in half: I'm all in to help out, however, there is a fine line between helping out and giving-it-away IMO.
I am quite sure that bars/clubs will do the 1/2 pay thing...why not?  It doesn't hurt to try....but helping out should go both ways.

How about:
a band usually plays 3 sets on a four hour gig...say on a 9pm-1am gig: 9-10, 10:30-11:30, 11:45-12:45 (room for an encore or two)
the band gets booked for 2/3 price..but...will only play the first two sets for that amount...
if the club/bar owner wants the 3rd set they will have to pay the other 1/3 of the band's regular fee....
or
1/2 price for the first two sets and the other 1/2 for the last set.
(If the place is jamming after the 2nd set, the bar/club will not want a band to pack up and leave.)

This way both the band and the venue will have some skin-in-the-game.

As a musician I'd be game...
As a sound man tech'ing the gig....ehhhhh....potentially a lot of work for little return......

I'll keep my eyes open for Never in Vegas when things open up.




 
   
 
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scottstephens

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2020, 10:57:40 am »

When the dust settles...
                                   Publicly owned (tax payer funded) venues will make a strong, albeit slow, comeback.  I believe that 70% of private venues will never come back. I also think ankle bitters will lower their prices even more. I hope I am wrong about people losing their businesses and livelihood. Thankfully, everything that I own is completely paid off but this giant pile of poop pie is even starting to hurt me. I have been networking and handing out business cards the past few weeks to be ready for a jumping off point when it comes around.

Praying that we can all get back to work soon.

Scott










 
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John L Nobile

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2020, 12:19:18 pm »

After seeing this thread, I'm now starting to wonder how many venues will close, be sold and re-purposed into something else? Maybe an Amazon warehouse or a grocery store? A liqour store? They're making tons of money.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2020, 12:45:03 pm »

When the dust settles...
                                   Publicly owned (tax payer funded) venues will make a strong, albeit slow, comeback.  I believe that 70% of private venues will never come back. I also think ankle bitters will lower their prices even more. I hope I am wrong about people losing their businesses and livelihood. Thankfully, everything that I own is completely paid off but this giant pile of poop pie is even starting to hurt me. I have been networking and handing out business cards the past few weeks to be ready for a jumping off point when it comes around.

Praying that we can all get back to work soon.

Scott

In my fair city, the City's response was to remove the Covidly-empty PAC from the city budget, so on Dec 31, 2020, the city will no longer be paying for *anything*.  There has been a huge power play (with obligatory dog and pony show for "public input") to demolish the PAC, the previous main library, and for the City to sell, give away, or provide tax abatement to developers for a 20 acre swath of downtown, river front property.  The "public/private partnership" will cost taxpayers roughly $1.1bn, and get a new PAC, new convention center, and other development of fuzzy and undefined nature or schedule... so it's not all Covid-19; the virus just let the City force the hands of stakeholders by saying "no income, no old PAC".  And there were theatrical tours, symphony dates, and other events either already scheduled or on the horizon of predictability.

Our city has a huge budget shortfall - some property values have gone down, and the city's portion of local sales taxes have fallen significantly.  The State isn't doing much better.  I'd be surprised if municipal governments can pump money into performance facilities when they're unable to bring back court clerks, building inspectors, and parks/public works employees.  Likewise, with revenue down at public colleges and universities there's less money available.  Across the board budget cuts have been implemented or are being considered.  The arts will have no greater priority than usual..

I really hope you're right, Scott, but so far my grimmest of projections have turned out fairly close...  now if I could only find a way to profit from being a pessimist...
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2020, 03:33:14 pm »

In my fair city, the City's response was to remove the Covidly-empty PAC from the city budget, so on Dec 31, 2020, the city will no longer be paying for *anything*.  There has been a huge power play (with obligatory dog and pony show for "public input") to demolish the PAC, the previous main library, and for the City to sell, give away, or provide tax abatement to developers for a 20 acre swath of downtown, river front property.  The "public/private partnership" will cost taxpayers roughly $1.1bn, and get a new PAC, new convention center, and other development of fuzzy and undefined nature or schedule... so it's not all Covid-19; the virus just let the City force the hands of stakeholders by saying "no income, no old PAC".  And there were theatrical tours, symphony dates, and other events either already scheduled or on the horizon of predictability.

Our city has a huge budget shortfall - some property values have gone down, and the city's portion of local sales taxes have fallen significantly.  The State isn't doing much better.  I'd be surprised if municipal governments can pump money into performance facilities when they're unable to bring back court clerks, building inspectors, and parks/public works employees.  Likewise, with revenue down at public colleges and universities there's less money available.  Across the board budget cuts have been implemented or are being considered.  The arts will have no greater priority than usual..
We've only seen the tip of the iceberg so far. The ramifications of this half year (and counting) shut down across the nation will be felt for decades to come. And the longer it goes on, the longer it will last. The entire make up of American society is about to change forever, and there's no way back.

Quote
now if I could only find a way to profit from being a pessimist...
Let's start a Youtube channel, Tim. We can call it "Two old sound guys complain about stuff". I'm sure we could get picked up by some late night cable TV channel eventually.
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Mal Brown

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2020, 01:35:57 pm »

We've only seen the tip of the iceberg so far. The ramifications of this half year (and counting) shut down across the nation will be felt for decades to come. And the longer it goes on, the longer it will last. The entire make up of American society is about to change forever, and there's no way back.
Let's start a Youtube channel, Tim. We can call it "Two old sound guys complain about stuff". I'm sure we could get picked up by some late night cable TV channel eventually.

make that three old sound guys...

I my neck of the Great North Wet...  winery duo's and trio's will bounce back. Weddings certainly as we are kind of a wedding destination.   A couple of restaurant/bars will after there is a vaccine.  There are a couple that are still doing live music inside now even with cases on the rise.  Pure idiocy I think.  I certainly won't participate.

Most of the smaller bars that did music are already gone here.  Doubtful they will come back.  My old bread and butter were the local multi day festivals.  I don't think that biz is coming back anytime soon.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 02:15:17 pm »

How many will be left is probably very dependent on how and when the dust settles.  I don't listen to media or politicians much on this-rather think for myself so I did some math last weekend-at the current rate of infection, for half of the people in my state to be infected will take 15 years-though probably longer because the infection rate will likely slow as some "herd immunity" develops.  (We're not gonna wake up some day and hear "we've attained herd immunity"-it will be gradual).  Perhaps a vaccine will help-but given prior results with coronavirus vaccines, do we really expect a silver bullet?  At current rates of infection and deaths, covid would be #7 for cause of death in my state (assuming everyone who dies with covid is counted as being caused by covid)-I would expect it to drop further down the list as treatments are refined and either vaccine or natural immunity is increased.

My church just went through an outbreak-20-25 people tested positive within a few days.  Probably some were infected through the church-but the only one hospitalized hasn't been to church since last winter, has COPD and emphysema-and caught covid after going to the hospital for those.  Otherwise, some were very, very sick, others not so much-even a couple of people in their 70's and 80's did just fine.  Church services were severely affected for 2 weeks and we scaled back and cancelled a number of activities.  But, my experience has been people want to get back to "normal" and many feel like covid is going to be part of normal going forward there is just really no way around it.

I don't have the answers on how to move forward-but no venue will survive 15 years of mask wearing and lockdowns.  Small mom and pop very low overhead venues might have a better chance?

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Riley Casey

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2020, 03:53:21 pm »

Don't bank on herd immunity for anything beneficial with COVID19 anymore than you can rely on herd immunity to colds or the flu.  Honing treatments coupled with some level of effectiveness with vaccines will be a rising indicator along with a falling life expectancy in the broad population. When those curves get to where we can accept them only then will we be 'back to normal'.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/10/it-s-been-so-so-surreal-critics-sweden-s-lax-pandemic-policies-face-fierce-backlash

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-covid-19-reinfection-means-for-vaccines/

How many will be left is probably very dependent on how and when the dust settles.  I don't listen to media or politicians much on this-rather think for myself so I did some math last weekend-at the current rate of infection, for half of the people in my state to be infected will take 15 years-though probably longer because the infection rate will likely slow as some "herd immunity" develops.  (We're not gonna wake up some day and hear "we've attained herd immunity"-it will be gradual).  Perhaps a vaccine will help-but given prior results with coronavirus vaccines, do we really expect a silver bullet?  At current rates of infection and deaths, covid would be #7 for cause of death in my state (assuming everyone who dies with covid is counted as being caused by covid)-I would expect it to drop further down the list as treatments are refined and either vaccine or natural immunity is increased.

...

Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2020, 05:01:13 am »

We've only seen the tip of the iceberg so far. The ramifications of this half year (and counting) shut down across the nation will be felt for decades to come. And the longer it goes on, the longer it will last. The entire make up of American society is about to change forever, and there's no way back.


Perhaps I'm being short-sighted here, but it seems to me that there will always be a demand for live entertainment. There are lots of aspects of live events which simply cannot be replicated at home. The wall of 2x18" subwoofers, the unique on-stage performance, sharing the experience with the people around you, etc etc.

Post-Covid, with a population starved of those experiences, I'm expecting a market with the few providers that have survived and a LOT of work to be done. When demand is high and supply is low, market forces will take over. New sound companies will spring up from the ashes, and things will carry on.

I've battened down the hatches, found other work, and all the equipment is paid for. I can resume live events pretty much whenever, and look forward to doing so when the time comes.

Chris
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Re: Venues......... When the dust settles, how many will be left?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2020, 05:01:13 am »


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