Watch: Summer hangs in the balance as live entertainment remains cancelled

James Kirkham and DJ Monki discuss the effects of Covid-19 on the entertainment industry and what this could mean for the future of live entertainment.

Video: Monki, Douglas and Kirkham discuss summer 2020
Video: Monki, Douglas and Kirkham discuss summer 2020

With social distancing set to be an ongoing part of the months ahead, the impact on live entertainment, gigs and festivals is immense. While glimmers of hope come from the creativity displayed during this time, a picture is starting to emerge of what the future of entertainment will look like.

A more tentative return to the new version of normal life is emerging – one that could lead to small groups being able to gather, but stadium-sized and large club events are changing forever.

James Kirkham, chief business officer at Defected Records, told Campaign that although he is yearning for simple things such as a beer in the park with friends, he cannot see the appeal of being in a stadium with 80,000 people.

"This idea of scale is so interesting. And I guess a lot of us, in our respective WhatsApp groups with friends, are so keen on a pub garden or a park with a bunch of beers and about six of you – the real basics, the small stuff. No-one is publicly clamouring for 80,000 people packed in a stadium – certainly not amongst my friends.

"There are huge sections of the audience who are 60 to 70-plus. Are they piling into Old Trafford as soon as it opens?"

"I think it’s going to be split into two camps," Monki – a DJ, broadcaster and player for Dulwich Hamlet FC Ladies – said.

"I think the younger generation is going to be really eager to get out and see their mates and I think people that are a little bit older are going to be slightly warier. I think I sit in between those two. I think social distancing is going to affect all of us, whether we like it or not. Mentally, even when we’re out of this, people are going to be a lot more aware of things. Things like shaking hands may be out in the bin now."

With the simple notion of shaking hands now viewed as alien, it is easy to accept that virtual and digital interactions are both being pitched as a way to bridge the gap for people not being able to visit large capacity venues, but Kirkham theorised that a micro-event movement could lead to a cultural boom.

"Are we going to see a return of the small bars, small clubs, small gigs mentality? If so, is that going to breed a whole new cultural boom of it being a bit ad hoc, hand to mouth and punkish in of its make-up? Maybe that’s a good thing and maybe that’s a great thing for indie music."