I think everybody was tested this week with the continued lockdown, despite the slightly loosened restrictions. Personally, I was a bit zoomed out and increasingly worried at the impact the lockdown measures will have on our economy, and on the Arts Industry in particular.
I’ve actually never been as busy as I have been over the last few months, as I looked at creative ways for Kíla to keep working despite no gigs. I wrote grant applications, each of them like a college project, I worked with various creatives on projects, I even co-wrote a pitch for a TV show. Things I wouldn’t have seen myself doing at the beginning of 2020. And each of them have given me a sense of pride and achievement. Whether they are successful remains to be seen.
But this week, the future seemed bleaker. How an earth can pubs, venues and musicians work under social distancing restrictions? How can we justify, as a country, the fact that this lockdown may bankrupt this industry? Some of these venues and pubs may never re-open. How can we find a creative solution for this industry to survive and protect the jobs of so so many.
The Arts Industry is low paid anyway. People working in it, including myself, do not work in it for money. They work in it for love of the Art, whichever form that art takes. However Art has value, and I have been lucky to have been able to earn enough from this to meet my outgoings, and to do something with my life that I enjoy and find incredibly worthwhile.
In January, I was in New Orleans with the lads. We put the start of a US tour together on the back of it, which I continue to work on with contacts in the US, however it is very uncertain if it can take place, even in 2021. It may be 2022 or 2023. St Patricks Day Weekend 2020 was booked out solidly for Kíla with festival after festival, and our bookings for the remainder of 2020 were looking solid, both at home and abroad. One by one, they were all cancelled. I remained positive throughout all of this and threw my energy into anything I felt might generate income and art for a band of 8 musicians who currently cannot gig together.
So a bit of the lustre, hope and positivity left me at the beginning of this week. Unease, anxiety and cabin fever set in. I miss my friends and family. I want to see Kíla, Aindrias, the Lust for Life team in person and not on Zoom. I had a moment. I even had a little cry.
And then something magical happened. Kíla had a gig. An actual gig that could bring them together, while respecting socially distancing guidelines. It would be streamed on YouTube. It all happened very quickly and I immediately got into promo and PR mode, realising how important this was for us. I worked closely with the Lock Up Live crew to ensure we got as big an audience as possible within the timeframe. They are a team of techies, crew, sound engineers, camera men, all of whom we have worked with several times, and consider friends.
The Launch weekend was free but these gigs will eventually be pay for view. And so they should be . Art has a value. Seeing Kíla perform live on YouTube on Saturday made me so happy. It proved to me that we can still be creative even in lockdown. We can find a way for Art to survive. We can save the industry. We just all need to work together to do so.
Hats off to Lock Up Live, super job!! And I am so proud of Kíla for putting on such an amazing gig in very strange times. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can watch it at the link below.
The PayPal link is http://www.paypal.me/Kilarecords if you wish to contribute to costs.