How the Live Entertainment Industry is Adapting to Bristol in Lockdown

Due to COVID-19, Bristol’s most popular festivals and shows have been postponed, but the industry has still found ways to entertain their audiences at home.

The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the live entertainment industry, with festivals such as Glastonbury and SXSW cancelled, and artists such as Camila Cabello and  postponing their tours indefinitely. Major sporting events including the Premier League and the Rugby League have pressed pause on upcoming fixtures and the Olympic Games Tokyo has been rescheduled for 2021.

Here in Bristol, much loved live events have also felt the impact of COVID-19. Bristol City Council has announced that no live events will be taking place until the end of July 2020, meaning summer festivals such as Harbourside, Upfest, Pride and Loves Saves the Day have all been postponed.

However, popular Bristol events have still found a way to entertain audiences at home, adapting their shows for live streams and interactive social media campaigns. For those missing the city’s vibrant nightlife, Thekla have been live streaming their indie and alternative club night, Pressure on Twitch. The Blast, who would have been performing at Loves Saves the Day this May, have produced an almighty mix of bass music, created by submissions from fans and aspiring DJs.

Live comedy and theatre have also found their way into the homes of Bristolians. Slapstick Comedy Festival have created ‘Laughter in Lockdown’, where they will be releasing archive footage from classic performances on a weekly basis to their website. The first show is a recording of the Eric Sykes Visual Comedy Legend Award Show from 2009, when he was interviewed by Goodie and festival patron Graeme Garden. As part of an on-going collaboration, the Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre streamed a live performance of Jane Eyre on 9 April as part of ‘National Theatre at Home’. Audiences around the world can stream National Theatre Live productions for free via YouTube every Thursday at 7pm, and it will then be available on demand for seven days.

This is a difficult time for the live events industry, with more festivals, tours and shows being cancelled each day. However, the industry has shown its ability to be adaptable, creative and just as entertaining online, with audiences hungrier than ever for interesting content.