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Music industry, Nashville brace for disaster as officials mull canceling concerts for rest of 2020

Posted at 9:06 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 10:06:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Will the show still go on? That's the uncertain future hanging over the concert industry during this pandemic.

Many artists have postponed shows until the fall, but health experts are now suggesting the stages may have to stay empty until next year.

Usually, Kyle Bates is away more than he's at home. Now he's at home, watching his wallet waste away.

"All of May got canceled, and then slowly I'm seeing more and more festivals start to close," Bates said.

Most recently, Bates was the video director for the band Dan + Shay, but with concerts canceled for the foreseeable future, he's filed for unemployment.

"You take touring and concerts and sporting events and stuff away from us — all of us that do this — there are no jobs, and there are no job prospects either," Bates said. "So a field that already doesn't have job security, there are no job prospects either."

But if officials cancel concerts for the rest of the year, it won't just spell the end of live events in Music City. It may also force some companies to go out of business.

Patrick Eaton works for Fuse Technological Group, a company that handles equipment at concerts and other shows.

"So the big screens you see, the big lights you see hanging in the air at a show, all that stuff's brought in," Eaton said.

Fuse furnishes a lot of the gear required to put the show on the road.

"All that stacks up pretty quickly when you're not generating any revenue," Eaton said.

Fuse is one of several vendors companies that have struggled since the the pandemic spread to the United States. He's worried some companies in the concert industry will meet the same fate.

"Potential Chapter 11 filings for people, I think there's going to be mergers acquisitions and consolidations within the industry which ultimately never seems to be great," Eaton said.

Eaton doesn't see that changing anytime soon.

"The more we talk about this stuff without a meaningful vaccine or without a really large scale rapid deployment testing, I don't see how it's even a possibility at this point this year," Eaton said.

Bates is still hopeful he'll get back to his home away from home.

"I think they'll figure out something whether it's limiting ticket sales or checking temperatures or doing something," he said.

Anyone that would like to donate to those struggling in the music industry can click here or here to help out.

This story was originally published by Chris Davis on WTVF in Nashville.