The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on the Arts. As a professional, self-employed violinist, I am experiencing this first hand. The consequences of the last 5 months will undoubtedly be deeply distressing and challenging for all of us in the profession, as we attempt to leave Lockdown behind and move towards to a very different landscape. With venues struggling to imagine any sort of viable re-opening with audience restrictions in place, we still have no clear idea as to when or how any sort of 'normal' existence can resume.
Now, more than ever we need live music at the heart of our communities. No one can dispute its value - research proves it plays a huge part in mental health and wellbeing, and after months of Lockdown, uncertainty and unprecedented changes in our lives, this is of great importance. Without urgent financial support, ventures such as Classical PopUps simply will not survive and so many local communities will suffer.
A few years ago I created Classical PopUps as a small events venture, creating interesting programmes, line-ups and reaching out to less established venues to create not only platforms for musicians but access for wider audiences. I have done and paid for everything myself from the very start - created my own website, set up partnerships with venues and other organisations and provided musicians for some really exciting projects. We have worked with Classic FM, Mazda, Battersea Dogs Home, Great Western Railway, St James's Market, Pop Up Painting and dozens of venues throughout London and the UK.
Classical PopUps brings incredible professional musicians together from major orchestras, West End shows and a huge pool of talented freelancers, along with collaborative artists, such as poets, painters and dancers. We create events that are accessible and community enhancing. The music we play covers a huge spectrum of genres, including classical, contemporary, film, jazz and brand new arrangements. Our repertoire is extremely varied and you'll often see us featuring line-ups such as Classical String Trio, Trumpet, Trombone and bongos! We mix everything up in our performances and create brand new arrangements of popular music across several genres.
My vision: I would love, during this difficult period to continue offering beneficial events in slightly unusual venues, such as bandstands, parks, gardens, car parks, deserted shops, and established venues - there are so many options. Anywhere that we are currently allowed to perform, we would love to do so! This would bring culture to communities but also provide much needed performance opportunity and support to artists that are temporarily without work or income. I already have support and enthusiasm from many South London locations and would love to venture further afield as well! The concept of pop-up events is, more than ever, a popular way to dip your toe into something that is new - a little taster session of live music in this instance. Without financial support, our industry is in danger of being abandoned and events like this will no longer exist.
I would aim to pay all of my artists a set rate, which would possibly be lower than any sort of ‘normal’ fee but a highly valued income nonetheless. Many of my colleagues do not qualify for financial aid from government schemes and are struggling to survive. It would be an incredible situation to be in to alleviate even a little of the stress experienced at this time. It breaks my heart to hear of fantastic musicians considering leaving the profession due to such an uncertain future.
Classical PopUps normally functions, relying on ticket sales and on collaborations with venues and partners, providing the necessary backbone of finances which enable payment to musicians. None of this can currently be relied upon, especially with restricted numbers in audiences.
Professional musicians deserve to be paid for public performance and their talents respected. My aim is to play a small part in making this happen.
Please help - Give a little to help a lot. Please visit Classical PopUps for more information. Your support is valued and appreciated.