COVID-19, or commonly known as coronavirus, began as a localized virus that has quickly spread across the world. As a person living in Austin, the closest event to have a major impact locally was the cancelation of SXSW. The major arts festival was cancelled for the first time in its 34 year run, a decision that while necessary, caused a lot of Austin residents extreme distress.
The cancellation was the first to establish the severity of the concern over the virus. While SXSW has largely become a technology showcase with hard to access badges, it has now become clear that the virus is affecting more than just the privileged. Over the last two days (Wednesday March 11th and Thursday March 12th), multiple bands have called off their tours, including Fleshgod Apocalypse, The Agonist, Mayhem, Circa Survive, Deftones, and many more will surely follow their steps as airlines, venues, and entire countries set up barriers and cancelations to control the spread of COVID-19.
For underground bands with plans to tour, these cancellations can be devastating financially, and put a halt to their musical development in irreparable ways. For venues, particularly local ones that house your favorite local bands and artists, the financial loss will impact its employees the hardest. Many of them are the backbone of your local music scene, without whom, the show would not go on.
During these scary times, I think about all of us who are lucky enough to still be free of the virus and who can support our favorite acts through small ways. This includes buying merchandise on their main websites, purchasing albums via BandCamp and iTunes, as well as looking up your local venue to see if they have set up any fundraisers.
Metal Injection has begun a list tracking the cancelled tours within the rock and heavy metal genres, which you can see here.
If you would like more information on COVID-19 and inform yourself on safety precautions, click here.
If you’re an Austin resident, please consider donating to those affected by the cancellation of SXSW: https://www.austincf.org/Stand-with-Austin/