It is Friday the 13th and Gig Dynamics are currently holding their annual open day dubbed “Gig Dynamics Open House”, at the Ngong Race. It is a multifaceted event aimed at bringing together Creatives; musicians, music promoters, bookers, sound engineers and music enthusiast alike to interact, engage and learn about the music ecosystem.
The mood is however muted, The Ministry of Public Health has just made the announcement, there is one case confirmed case of Covid-19. The health PS issues a mandatory cancellation on all public gatherings. The Gig Dynamics Open House befalls this fate, an incredible occasion has been cancelled.
At 5:30pm, the organizers issue an immediate cancellation on all event programs, Reggae power house band, Gravitti Band is just about to go on stage, and music revelers are left baffled and all they can do is just leave the vicinity. This is the beginning of what I can term, the Cancel Culture. In the next few days, on all the socials, a lot of gigs are cancelled and events are postponed indefinitely.
Following directives by the President regarding social gatherings and how they can contribute to the spread of COVID-19, @k1klubhouse and I have agreed to temporarily suspend @SpeakerBoxAtK1 for your safety. Please holla at me or K1 if you have any questions! ❤ #funeveryday pic.twitter.com/Bn4PcsOQLK
— Patricia Kihoro (@Misskihoro) March 16, 2020
Most of Nairobi’s lively, vibrant live music scene – and indeed the country’s- shut down all at once because of the coronavirus pandemic. The disruption can feel profound to the many participators of this space.
With live gig session being their main source of income, freelancers in entertainment – and across many other industries – have been some of the most dramatically hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the systemic shut down of many creative project
Already, corona virus has shut down music festivals and gigs around the country. These are huge economic blows. For every cancelled event, there are a collective of hardworking producers, writers, audio engineers, instrument technicians, lighting technicians, soundboard operators, tour managers, booking agents and agencies, venue employees, bookers, venue managers, and bar staff who lost out on work they were counting on.
Under those circumstances, there is no safety net for freelancers or the type of benefits system where employees get sick days. For freelancers it’s a hand-to-mouth existence.
Man I’m so broke. No gigs. No voice students. They all canceled because social distancing. Me ntaanza Only Fans. The music industry here was rough already. 😭
— Existentialdreadlocs (@CianoMaimba) March 20, 2020
– a troubling reality magnified in a global pandemic.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, we realize that each week is wildly different from the last. It’s difficult to keep up with the changing protocols, cancellations, closures—and it’s even more difficult to wrap your head around how quickly the virus is spreading and what can be done
In a statement, the by Ankole Grill said: “We don’t know for how long our workplaces will be closed.”
And Geco Café:
The Kenyan creative industries are among the key drivers to the economic growth. Quote Octopizzo requests PRISK and MCSK to liaise with the government and step in and help artist, Octopizzo:
The Creatives ingenuity
Since the acceleration of COVID-19, we’ve seen how developing countries are actively supporting one another. From mutual aid on social media to crowdfunding, the music industry is coming together while also respecting the necessity of canceling live performances for the time being.
In an Instagram Live session, Founder of Africa Nouveau and Blanket & Wine MDQ shared some insights on how she is coping amidst the pandemic, “Touring, a musicians’ greatest source of income, has been put on hold; festivals are being postponed or canceled entirely. She requested the creatives to use their free time wisely. “Don’t panic, don’t waste time. Don’t stop, Don’t prioritize the circumstances over the thing you have intended to do. Don’t drop the ball. Stay ready” She discussed ways as a community, we can help each other, as well as come up with solutions to alternative ways to survive financially during this time.
How Fans Can Support Musicians
If there’re people that bring light your lives. It’s.
✅ Events folks.
Everyone who survives on the gig economy needs you now more than ever. If they are your “friends”.
Call them check up on them. Help them. https://t.co/ypgaizBgzH
— Timwork (@rimbui) March 18, 2020
as Tim Rimbui says
- Purchase merchandise,
- Buy music on virtual platforms like Mookh
- Attend virtual live performances i.e Instagram Live feeds. Make sure to share some positive vibes!
How y’all doing my great, Power People! I’m gonna be live on Instagram at 6pm to discuss how we can all better this #covid19kenya quarantine situation like giving your housie extra cash to cushion her, really adhering to social distancing and a lot more. Do join me, won’t you?🙂 pic.twitter.com/npOOPdB77n
— #MuthoniDrummerQueen (@muthoniDQ) March 20, 2020
- It is said, sharing is caring. Share any music or just a playlist :
— Patricia Kihoro (@Misskihoro) March 13, 2020
- Share music on all social platforms—musicians really need the visibility right now, and we could all stand to discover some new music.
- Donate- “changa kiasi”. Keep an eye out on socials for ways to directly send money to musicians. Consider offering the amount you would have paid for a live performance.
— Noel Nderitu (@noelnderitu) March 18, 2020