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Singer-songwriter Julia Deans

By MIRANDA COOK

From singers to gig promoters and sound crew, people in the music
business are struggling to make a living as more and more performances
get cancelled over the coronavirus.

Christchurch-based singer-songwriter Julia Deans has been forced to pull
out of her South Island tour, including a show planned for last weekend at the Sherwood.

Having been a full-time musician for decades, the 45-year-old says she’s
never experienced anything having an impact on the arts world in the way
that Covid-19 is.

“Even in the Great Depression and the global financial crisis, we were
never told we couldn’t go to a live gig or get together with our
friends,” Deans says.

New Zealand is now officially in lockdown for the next four weeks – it
follows a range of measures implemented by the government in the last couple of weeks, including banning indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

People and business owners who don’t follow the rules can face legal action.

Before the pandemic began to intensify, Deans’ South Island tour was
going to be made up of shows in small venues, with room for between 50
to 100 people.

She was also booked in for mentoring classes at South Island high
schools – “but that’s all gone kapoof”.

Now the critically-acclaimed artist has just one event in her calendar
for the entire year, and she estimates she’s lost 98 per cent of her
income.

“Aside from the little bit I get from streaming royalties, it means I
have nothing – I have no income.”

With a small amount of savings in the bank, Deans still isn’t sure how
she’s going to make a living to pay bills and put food on the table,
bringing new meaning to the term struggling musician.

And she knows she’s not alone.

“Everyone who works in the entertainment industry, such as venues,
marketing teams and promoters, are affected.

“It really is an endless list.

“Depending on how long this goes on for, we don’t know what we will be
going back to – will the venues still be open?”

For people wanting to support their favourite artists, Deans suggests
listening or buying music from streaming platforms, such as Spotify and
Apple Music.

Bandcamp.com is a great platform for listening to music and discovering
new artists, she says.

“Bandcamp keeps a very small portion of revenue, and everything else
goes directly to the artists.

“Even just reaching out to your favourite musician to check they are
doing ok.”