January is usually a time when people of my ilk – miserable ink stains – tend to take stock of where they have been and where they are going.
I spent almost two years trying to make sense of the music and entertainment industry for my daily work at the Chattanooga Times Free Press and my side gig with “The What Podcast,” a show I co- anime that takes a deep dive into the world of live music. One of the things that concerns me as we approach 2022 is what the live music landscape will look like this year. Will there be any notable changes?
I think we will see some pandemic-inspired security measures continue, such as sanitation zones everywhere. And we’ll probably see more security at some entrances. Whether the tragic deaths at Astroworld in Houston will impact other festivals remains to be seen. But many will recall that once lawyers and insurers got involved after fans died at Cincinnati’s The Who concert in 1979, arenas and large venues began to remove first-come festival seating, first served and moved to assigned seats.
I understand the movement, but personally I loved the festival seating and the idea that people could get closer to the stage. It was exciting and unpredictable, what good rock and roll should be.
But it was also dangerous, hence the changes.
One thing that we are already seeing and that we will probably continue to see is that the greats in the promotional concert universe – The Live Nations, the C3s – are going to continue to grow because they have a big cache of money. , and they’re not afraid to use it.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? It depends. If you’re one of those promoter networks, it could mean more acts to tap into. For example, venues such as the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium and the Tivoli Theater are working with Knoxville-based AC Entertainment, which is now owned by Live Nation, one of the country’s leading live entertainment companies.
Because of this relationship, we have been able to see certain acts occur that would not normally end there.
But the smaller ones and independent promoters, who have done all they can to hang on during the pandemic, don’t have the money to tackle big acts – and they may not want to. tackle risky mid-level or unknown acts, which means they’re even more conservative in their reservations. As a result, lesser-known or unproven bands have fewer places to play and develop an following.
Every band, from the Stones to the Beatles to Kanye, started somewhere, and they started small. Eliminating independent sites and promoters could limit access for fans. Additionally, it could impact things like radius clauses, where large tour promoters prohibit artists from holding additional concerts within a certain radius of the cities where they are to perform.
As we come out of a very stagnant time where most people were stuck at home, all the big festivals are looking for lineup that will bring them back fans, and although they’ve been playing well, so to speak, for a year. or else, 2022 could be a period when the big foot of the big ones will get even bigger.
This means that an event like the Riverbend Festival, which is relatively small and independently produced, will tackle some of the same acts as Atlanta’s Shaky Knees or 420 Fest, and a strict non-compete clause could prevent a band playing here for weeks or months after their appearances in Atlanta.
We should start to see the lineup for the upcoming festivals in the coming weeks, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.