I am planning a few live concerts next month. I wasn’t going to do any more live concerts this year, because I got sick of all the angst that goes with it, at this current time. You see, what I have to do is hire a venue (which isn’t cheap), and then hope that enough people turn up to pay the hire costs – and then provide a fee for my other performer, and then me. Some big organisations get grants, but ‘Bach in the Dark’ doesn’t work like that – every concert is a big gamble.
When I started the concert series, over a decade ago, I knew what I was in for, for a few years. Some concerts I didn’t make enough to pay me (as a performer) – but I managed to cover everything else. Then it all started to work really well. Tickets were bought by my dear audience well in advance, and the financial stress of running things left.
Then came COVID….
I was incredibly lucky to be able to live-stream concerts during the last few years, and have the support from everyone to do it – from Ben who set it all up, other artists who came to my house, friends who helped, and the hundreds of people who supported the streaming – who bought tickets, who made donations, who sent messages afterwards. But it’s not the same as playing live. It’s really strange playing to an empty space (in my case, the kitchen). As a performer, you thrive on hearing the audience, feeling the audience, sensing what’s going on in the moment. And that goes when you stream something.
I wonder if that’s what drained me so much.
After the stress of financially running some live concerts in February (and boy, did I want to play live again!), I thought I wouldn’t do it for a while, just to let Sydney get back on its feet. I am still getting emails from people saying ‘I’m not going to live concerts any more/ at the moment…’ which breaks my heart. I am sorry that these people feel so unsafe, and I am more sorry for the performers and creatives who, like me, need these live audiences. With the rise of vaccines, and everyone doing what they can (like moving to bigger venues, or limiting audience numbers), is it still unsafe to be in performance venues?
Anyway, as I was going to be preparing a program for a music club, with one of the people who I love playing with the most, I thought I’d take a gamble again. Who know what will happen…. I hope very much it’s a success.
Fingers crossed, I guess – apart from when I need them to practise!