The (Virtual) Show Must Go On

Since the quarantine of March 2020, we’ve all had to adapt our ways of doing things and many industries went “virtual” to maintain public safety. The music industry was one of them. Almost overnight operations were moved online. In a matter of months people would be dancing to their favourite artists except this time alone, in their living rooms on a video call with thousands of other fans.

Hannah Judge, the artist behind Fan Club Wallet, had started an indie rock project just before everything shut down. “I had to adjust to a totally different way of doing things. I felt like I’d be so prepared to play live (virtual shows) and put out music but it’s a whole new world with the pandemic.” Hannah is grateful to have grown up with the rise of the internet, explaining that “being able to navigate the online world is a plus. […] I think it would be an issue if I had sucked at being online.”

Overall, she finds that “a lot of music has taken off this year because everyone is so online, everyone is looking for music to check out.” The pandemic hasn’t been all bad, according to Hannah, who has “been able to make songs, without stopping, for a year and a half, which is really great.”

Alex and Kate of Moonfruits, a local bilingual duo, agree. Alex Millaire said “On the one side, it’s this horrific thing. At the same time, it was this beautiful gift of time. I was getting up at like 5 or 6 AM for most of the winter […] we just kept on writing, our EP was only going to be 5 songs and now it’s going to be 13 songs.” The band will be able to reap the fruits of their labor when they release their new album SALT, this Fall. Each song is accompanied with a podcast and music video.

When asked to play virtual shows over the pandemic Alex’s response was: “If you’ll hire us then the answer is yes”. Kate and Him had to take side hustles during the pandemic “virtual shows were more important for our souls than our pocket books” he said.

Hannah would not turn down an opportunity to perform online either. She is even hoping to produce some virtual shows herself. In the future, “we should continue having virtual shows, or at least having the option to attend a show virtually,” mentions Hannah. “I was really sick this year, the fact that I was able to see some of the bands that I really like online really changed the game for me. […] We need to make shows more accessible for people who can’t get out to shows.”

On top of it being a good way for artists to continue getting paid, online festivals and concerts have the same power to bring people together as in-person events.