It’s a dark moon weekend and it feels like a dangerous time for many in the music industry.
I see, and read of, the consequences of lockdowns, border closures, shows and tours cancelled in real time. I sense it in social media posts of artists and industry folks, daily. I could hear it in the interviews with spokespeople of the Australian music industry in last week’s The Music’s Music Industry Brainstorms Solutions As Govt Fails To Provide Roadmap Out Of COVID two part pod-cast.
It is a hard listen. The fear and desperation are palpable.
Reality is hard — there is no ‘roadmap’ to a short-mid term future that does not involve further show cancellations, rescheduling tours and even deeper financial losses. Until Australia is >80% vaccinated there is no ‘return to normal’ — normal IS precarious. Normal may never be how it was. Normal may be years away, not months. No one has the answers.
Music industry folks’ sheer-bloody-mindedness to make shit happen is their super-power. They always overcome obstacles and find a way forward. They don’t rest until a plan is in place. They over-think. ‘There has to be a way’ ; ‘I will find a way’ ; ‘the tour/show will go on! It MUST GO ON!’
But, not now — 2021 has broken the music industry.
I am worried for the thousands of humans of music.
I worry for them when I am not worrying about my own responsibilities as an employer. I worry for them when not worrying about my own health and wellbeing. I worry for them when I am not worrying about my friends and family. Worry overload as the pandemic grinds on. And on.
This past couple of weeks, I dragged my over-anxious and busy brain back to the concept of neutrality — the letting go of attachment to an outcome. Accept the way it is. I have found this super useful, to calm the worry.
When I find my hyper-brain charging forth trying to make sense of the numbers on the morning media streams, the vaccination targets, potential policies and processes for ‘returning’ to normal — I consciously remind myself to remain neutral.
I cannot control the outcome of the pandemic. I cannot control the epic failings of the Australian government. I cannot control the lack of cohesive and effective leadership in a fragmented and increasingly desperate Australian music industry.
I CAN choose to remain neutral and let go of my ‘need’ to attach to a goal, a finish-line, a solution, a deliverable, an outcome.
For the remainder of the shit-show of 2021 this will be my sanity hack — remain neutral. Drag the thoughts back to neutral, every hour of every day.
Everyday, remain neutral. Everyday, accept the way it is.
I am not sure who needed to read that today, but I hope it lands where it needs, and is useful. If you need support:
Support Act Helpline: 1800 959 500
1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732
Lifeline Hotline: 13 11 14 or text their helpline on 0477 13 11 14
SANE: 1800 187 263
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I live and work on the unceded lands of the Turrbul and Jaggera Yuggera peoples. I pay my respect to their Ancestors and Elders. I recognise that sovereignty has never been ceded.
In December 2021 Leanne de Souza will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Major, Digital and Media Cultures and Minors, Gender Studies and Australian Indigenous Studies) from the University of Queensland.
Leanne is Co-Owner and Non-Executive Director of Nightlife Music, a trustee of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust (QPAC) and Chair of the Electronic Music Conference Advisory Board.
From 2016–2019 Leanne held the Executive Director role for the Association of Artist Managers (AAM), serving the broader music industry, building upon two decades working directly in frontline artist management.
Leanne is a life-member of Q Music and was awarded the 2019 National Live Music Award for “Excellence in Support of the Live Music Industry.”