Arts and entertainment has always been a celebration of creativity, and B.C. premier John Horgan says it’s going to take just that to keep the industry afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is always characterized as the ministry of fun. What could be better than tourism and arts and culture? But right now it’s been the hardest hit with COVID-19,” Horgan said.
It’s not just the artists who are struggling as a result of fewer and smaller shows, it’s everyone behind the scenes too.
“I have a friend who is a prominent musician in British Columbia and he does very well but he has 50 people that depend on him to tour and if you’re not touring, if there’s no bums in seats, and the Internet being what it is, a new album is not what it is before streaming and pirating of music and so on that became the norm,” the premier explained. “Live entertainment is good for people in terms of enjoyment but it’s incredibly important for all of the people that depend on that; for musicians for actors and for others who perform for us all and bring us joy, the legions of people who work with them to bring those productions to communities and into venues, and the venues themselves sit idle as we await a vaccine and a time when we can go back to normal.”
Horgan said the smaller venues and smaller productions are the order of the day for now and Creative BC is working on that.
Things are looking up, however.
”Our borders are closed, our venues are closed. The film sector, which has been transformative for many many British Columbians, is just starting to come back and the good news there is Hollywood North has a way better track record on COVID than Hollywood South, so productions want to come back to British Columbia and new productions want to settle here because of how well we’ve managed COVID,” Horgan noted. “There are glimmers of hope as well as those pockets of despair, but live entertainment is a big challenge right now and not until it’s safe will people be comfortable to go to a venue to see a performer and that means that the gig economy — those that go from venue to venue, to make sure the lights are there, the sound is there, and everybody gets the entertainment they want — that’s going to be a while to recover.