By Anastasia Bekker
Elm Staff Writer
With the COVID-19 pandemic making traditional concerts impossible, artists are now turning to virtual concerts and performances to connect with their fans and raise funds for important causes, including pandemic relief and Lyme Disease.
With social distancing restrictions imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the face of COVID-19, thousands of people packed into a stadium is no longer a viable scenario. Music lovers need to stay safe and follow social distancing procedures that are difficult in a traditional concert setting, such as staying six feet apart and moving indoor events outdoors, but that doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice worthwhile experiences.
Online concerts will certainly be different from the traditional, in-person performances, but artists now have a unique opportunity to attempt new ways of connecting with their fans.
“The home concert was interesting at the beginning, but we’ve seen a lot of that,” Jared Losow, a marketing director for the New York performance venue Le Poisson Rouge, told Billboard on Oct. 6. “People are ready for something different.”
Some artists are taking COVID-19 restrictions as a creative challenge.
“What are you going to do with this time?” Justin Furstein of the band Blue October said in an early-October interview with Billboard. “Whine about it? Or be proactive and creative?”
If you’re interested in seeing how your favorite artists took up this challenge, there are a number of virtual concerts happening this fall. All the following artists have made registration available for purchase on their websites.
For pop fans, on Oct. 24, Billie Eilish will be doing a virtual version of her “Where Do We Go?” concert, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. She was able to perform three shows in March before ending the tour.
Sam Smith will be performing their new album “Love Goes”from Abbey Road Studios on Oct. 30.
Also starting on Oct. 30, is Rolling Loud’s “Loud Stream,” which is a two-day event that will include performances, interviews, and commentary from the band. The livestream will begin at 6 p.m. EST on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31.
Another upcoming event this month is the Avril Lavigne Foundation’s Fight Lyme concert.
Lavigne’s virtual performance will raise awareness and funds for Lyme disease victims, in partnership with the Global Lyme Alliance.
“I’m so excited for fans and friends from all over the world to join me and my very special guests for #FightLyme,” Lavigne said in a statement reported by iHeart Radio on Sept. 22. This cause is of special importance to the singer, who was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015.
Several artists are also collaborating to raise money for both COVID-19 aid and racial justice through the 2020 Go Gala, including HAIM, Katherine McPhee, David Foster, and Ewan McGregor. Money from the Go Gala will be donated to children and young adults for basic necessities during the pandemic and to raise awareness for racial inequality.
The Gala will take place on Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. EST.
“I’m grateful that we can still come together virtually and now globally to raise funds for Go campaign and its mission to support families and children worldwide,” Robert Pattinson, one of the co-hosts for the Gala, said in a statement on Sept. 24.
For fans of country music, the annual iHeart Radio Country Festival will be held virtually on Oct. 23, with Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown, and Lady A among the performers. The event will start at 8 PM ET and can be streamed for free on LiveXLive.com.
British singer James Bay will be going live from Shakespeare’s Globe on Oct. 21. For viewers in the US, there will be one show at 8 PM EST and another at 8 p.m. PST.
Stone Temple Pilots fans can watch the band’s virtual concert, a livestream of their album Purple, this Friday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. EST.
Even without in-person concerts, these virtual performances are connecting musicians to their fans. With the numerous online concerts happening this fall, listeners can still hear the music they love and connect with the artists that create it.
Featured Photo caption: With in-person concerts cancelled, today’s popular bands and artists are bringing the music to fans through virtual concerts and performances. Photo Courtesy of Jakob Owens.