In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I started to wonder what the impact would be on the live music industry and the fan experience. Who would be hit the hardest? The fans? Bands? Venue owners?
As I thought about how live music has helped fans and band process grief and loss, I also started to wonder How would live music be used to help people recover physically and emotionally?
What live music experiences would bands and fans have as they navigate the emotional aftermath of Sandy?
Would live music play the role it did in the wake of 9/11, or other tragic events?
Of course, the answers to those questions will take time to answer, and as I looked for answers to those questions I wanted to share a few stories that have begun to shed light on those issues.
Stories About Sandy Impact, Benefit Concert History
First up is this Billboard story that explains a few insurance scenarios:
Most venues don’t carry insurance for loss of revenue due to a weather cancelation, Bassman says, though policies differ widely. “Some venues may carry ‘loss of utilities’ coverage, however there are so many different kinds of insurance coverage, it just depends on what they carry,” he says.
Force majeure, or “act of God,” clauses in contracts cover stakeholders on both sides of the talent buyer-entertainer equation. “Depending on how it’s worded, something like this would typically invoke the force majeure clause, and the [promoter] would not have to pay the guarantee to the artist,” says Bassman. “But [the promoter] would still be out all kinds of money for marketing and promotion, not to mention lose out on the profit potential for that show.”
Big companies like Live Nation, AEG Live, and Bowery Presents — the three most active in the New York metropolitan area — are well-insulated from serious weather events, Bassman says. “It’s the one-time promoter that’s going to get crushed.”
Next is this Huffington Post story about the unfortunate scalping situation that has occured leading up to the upcoming 12-12-12 Madison Square Garden Sandy Benefit concert this week.
“Every dollar spent for these concert tickets should go to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy – not to line the pocket of unscrupulous scalpers,” Senator Schumer said in an statement. “Ticket resale websites have the opportunity to make it much more difficult for scalpers to make money of this charitable event, and they should seize it.”
Currently, tickets are listed on StubHub for as much as $27,175. With the highest face-value price of a ticket reaching $2,500, scalpers are in a position to make an enormous profit. While StubHub is donating its service fees and commissions to the Robin Hood Foundation, it isn’t regulating the reselling of tickets. NYT reports that StubHub’s spokesman, Glenn Lehrman, said about the company’s decision, “This is going to take place regardless of whether we enable it or somebody else does, and at least by us enabling it, we can give a good portion to charity.”
Ticketmaster’s resale sites, however, are not allowing tickets for 12-12-12 to be sold.
“We proactively blocked all posts for 12-12-12 as is our policy for charitable events,” a representative for TicketsNow and TicketExchange said in an email.
Then I came across this Rollingstone.com article that puts the questionable history of benefit concert in perspective and explains how the industry has learned from the past and hopes to make the 12-12-12 concert all about helping tell the story of those who are still in need:
In addition to raising money, organizers hope the concert will educate the country about the full extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. “People don’t realize there’s a very long tail of impact from this hurricane,” says Sykes. “There was the initial damage, but now you have homeless people in New York that are headed into a winter with below-freezing temperatures. These people have nowhere to go. You have homes lost, families torn apart, and these people have nowhere to go.”
The big benefit concerts of the 1970s were notorious for wasteful spending, but that won’t be the case this time around, organizers insist. “The concert business has learned from the mistakes of the past,” says Sykes. “When you have a group like the Robin Hood [Foundation] in New York City, where the entire overhead of the organization is paid for by the board members, that means 100 percent of the funds raised on that concert will go to the people that need it.”
12-12-12 Sandy Relief Concert
To wrap up the post, here’s info about the 12-12-12 Benefit concert taking place this Wendesday at 7:30pmEST including below a list of places online and TV where you can watch from the comfort of your home.
From Kanye West to Bruce Springsteen, there’s going to be a lot of stars performing and to get you ready for the show, here’s a list of previous Live Fix explorations that’ll take you deeper into how their live shows have moved us and other concert fans have used live music and the concert community to cope with loss and recover.
Share Your Sandy Stories
As always our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by Sandy. We want to continue to explore this and we’d love to hear about your stories too. Tell us how Sandy has impacted your live music experiences and we’ll share them on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.
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