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Music industry experts discuss how Manchester bombing will affect the live scene and what it means for VR experiences

Laura  Barnes
Music industry experts discuss how Manchester bombing will affect the live scene and what it means for VR experiences

This week, Berklee Online hosted an event at Tileyard Studios in London to talk about two key sectors of the music industry, Sync and Live.

Both sessions were free to attend for those working in the music industry and those hoping to further their career in music.

MI Pro attended the second panel session of the evening to hear about the issues the live industry faces, how the terrible tragedy at Manchester Arena will affect music venue security, and what’s in store for the future of live music.

The panel, entitled ‘Live Sector Revue: UK Festivals & Touring’, was chaired by IQ Magazine’s Jon Chapple. On The panel was Killer Bee’s Bev Burton, Earth Agency’s Claire Courtney, Liquid Management’s David Manders, and Kili Live’s Karma Bertelsen.
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With the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena having taken place just days before, the session started off by addressing what the devastating news means for music venues, bands, and gig goers.

“Can a gig ever be totally safe?” Chapple asked the panel, who agreed that no event, whether that’s a gig, a sporting event or any sort of public gathering can ever be 100% safe.

“Having a 12 year old daughter makes you think, she could have easily been at that show. I think it will have a huge effect on the live music industry,” said Manders. “When it comes to a parent making a division about whether to let their child go to a gig, it will be very difficult right now.”

The panel agreed that while more could be done to make gig goers feel safe, at the end of the day, it’s down to the individual to decide whether they want to take that risk. And increased security would mean finding more money to pay for it.

“In theory a big event could use football stadium-type security, but it's impracticable to do that, it would take far too much time. I think you've just got to get on with it,” said Courtney.

Bertelsen commented: “Security will be increased somewhat, but most arenas have a foyer bit where there's no security, like at Manchester. There was enough security to make sure the terrorist didn't get through to the main arena. I don’t think you can do much more than that.”

Burton added: “Smaller venues are stepping up security, but there is an issue of whose going to pay for it.”

“How can we reassure people to continue coming to gigs?” asked Chapple.

“I think we need to do more to up security to put people's mind at ease and maybe looking at other industries and learning from them.”

Looking towards the future of the live industry, an audience member asked whether the recent worries about attending gigs may encourage the development of a VR gig experience.

“I think it’s inevitable, but I don’t really like the idea of it. We live in a world where young people are as isolated as it is,” said Courtney.

Bertelsen agreed: “I think seeing music live is something that you can't really replace, and I hope that will still be a constant for most people.”

“VR is only a problem if shows aren’t sold out. If you've got a sold out show, why not let people paid for a virtual ticket?” asked Chapple.

A panel agreed that while VR tickets would give those unable to attend arena-sized gigs a way of still being involved in the live music scene, the industry should focus on nourishing live music at the grassroots level as much as possible before thinking about adding VR experiences to arenas and stadiums, because, as Manders put it: “Without grassroots and small bands there will be no arenas.”

This panel session was part of Berklee Online's promotion for its new courses and qualifications, which are now available to musicians in the UK. Find out more about that here.

Tags: music venues , Tileyard studios , Berklee Online , manchester bombing

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