|▲Chicago, a musical that is being performed while following the rules of distancing (source: Maeil Business Newspaper)|
The concert hall, which was always crowded with many people, has become difficult to fill with people after the outbreak of COVID-19. Not only outdoor festivals, but also performances such as singer’s concerts, plays, and musicals are not as freely enjoyed as before. As social distancing began, many people were unable to gather in one location so, the performance industry quickly fell into a big crisis. This is because it is impossible to perform a realistic and impactful performance remotely. In this crisis, the performance industry has continued to make great efforts to connect to audiences.
Currently, the quarantine rules of the concert hall are followed to prevent the spread of the virus. At level 1.0 masks and disinfection are required, at level 1.5 one seat must be left empty between groups in the audience, at level 2.0 one seat must be left empty between each audience member, at level 2.5 two seats must be left empty between each audience member, and performances will be suspended at level 3. Currently, most of the areas where many concert halls are located are at level 2.0, so most concert halls following the level 2.0 quarantine rules. Since the quarantine level can be increased to 2.5 or 3 levels at any time, concert halls offer variable seats when booking seats and refund audience members who have reserved variable seats when the quarantine level increases.
Classical performances and musicals, which are classified as general performances, can be carried out by following quarantine rules, but pop music performances such as concerts cannot be performed because they are classified as a group gathering. The reason why popular music performances are classified as a group gathering is because COVID-19 can be spread by audiences singing together, So singers’ concerts, which are popular music performances, are not being held. In addition, small-scale performances with less than 100 people (depending on local rules) are having difficulty holding performances due to inconsistent guidelines.
The performance industry is making efforts to hold performances both online and offline in line with the COVID-19 regulations. Popular music performances are held live without an audience, while ordinary performances such as musicals are held remote performance at the same time as offline performances with the audience. As remote performances continue in the culture and arts community, there is a growing demand for the government to support the performance industry.
The government has made efforts to support the performance industry. It provided emergency living loans to artists suffering from economic difficulties due to the cancellation of performances, and provided aid to affected performance organizations. And the government also created total of 2,000 jobs in the field of pop music performance. A policy official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said, “Since last year, it has become difficult for performers to hold pop music performances, and performance production companies and other venues are facing a crisis of closure or unemployment. Through this emergency job support, we hope to promote the sustainability of pop music performances despite difficult conditions and further provide opportunities to revitalize performances.”
Since the number of performances has decreased since the COVID-19, pandemic began, supporters of the cultural arts have also been very disappointed. Ryu Ga-eun, from the Dept. of Global Business said, “I usually enjoyed going to concerts, but it is regrettable that I can’t enjoy concerts due to the quarantine rules for general performances. I hope the quarantine rules will be eased for the performance industry, singers and audiences.” Many people hope that rules for general performances won’t be necessary for much longer so that everyone can safely enjoy culture and arts.
By So Min-young, cub-reporter email@example.com
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