• Michael Smyth

The Power of Music in Times of Crisis

A great deal of things have changed over the past few months. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused detrimental changes to all spheres of life, especially how we interact with one another. Most of us have been cooped up in our homes attempting to make sense of this new reality we are living in. Who would have thought? No-one would have been able to guess that this is where we would be even a year ago.

These times can cause us to contemplate about things we customarily would not think about, because we are so invested in moving forward and completing our goals. We all needed to pause and take a moment to breathe. In conjunction with this, many have felt a new sense of stress and anxiety arise due to the current state of affairs worldwide, making lockdown a far more difficult situation than we may have expected.

One thing that almost everyone loves is music. Music has the power to bring people together through challenging times like these, in a way nothing else can. “The protest songs of folk music have a long history of engagement with social justice struggles for abolition of slavery, universal suffrage, and other human rights agendas, but really began to assert their power during the unionization drives emerging out of the industrialization of wealthy societies,” (Music and Social Justice | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d.). The music industry has suffered a major loss during this time as all shows have been cancelled and there have been several travel restrictions in place to help reduce the spread of the virus. Many individuals have lost their jobs and cannot provide for their families for the time being.

However, Covid-19 is not able to tame the supreme power of music. There have been a number of online shows that have been put together to help raise funds for workers on the front line and those in less fortunate financial circumstances. The other intention is to boost people’s spirits with virtuous music from some of their most beloved artists. This crisis has made everyone think ‘out of the box’ in order to maintain a bearing in the music industry and still better relationships with fans. This has proved to be a very important facet of awareness during the pandemic, as many artists have encouraged their fans to listen to the science and follow the lockdown restrictions.

There have been numerous concerts and benefits, however, one of the major concerts was the Global Citizen One World: Together At Home, which was hosted on the 18th of April 2020. Global Citizen concerts were established in 2012 in order to spread awareness and raise funds for the less fortunate and help alleviate poverty on a global scale. This concert runs annually and was founded by Ryan Gall and Hugh Evans. This was the first time that this concert had to premiere online. “Global Citizen together with Lady Gaga, announced $127 million in commitments to date in support of health care workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” One World: Together At Home Raised Almost $128 Million in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis, 2020). This show was extremely successful, as many people were able to access the live show in the comfort of their own homes. The six-hour event was hosted by big names, such as Becky G and Don Cheadle, and included performances from all over the creative arts’ spectrum. Some of the big names included people such as Andra Day, Niall Horan, Vishal Mishra, The Killers, Finneas, Billie Eilish, and many more. All these creative people came together to put on a memorable show during these difficult times. This was the highest raising charity event, according to Forbes Magazine, and managed reached millions of users across the globe.

The next big event, that took place, was the BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend. This festival has been running since 2000 and is orchestrated by BBC Radio 1. This festival runs over a weekend in May and includes many headliners who help to promote the show. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, this party-vibe chill fest was called to a halt as many fans were disappointed because big names such as Harry Styles, were said to be headlining the show. This was the first year that BBC Radio 1 aired the show on an online platform only and it did not fail to impress. This event took place from the 22ndto the 24th of May and included performances by well-known names such as YUNGBLUD, Sam Smith and Anne-Marie, appearing on the Radio 1 Stage. There were also dance performances from Armand van Halen, Hannah Wants and many more. This event highlighted the fact that no matter the circumstances, the power of music is able to bring people together and make them content with who they are and what they have

The way we go about our daily lives is going to change for the next few years. We are all looking for some type of normality in this chaotic time, but it is hard times like these that make us realise what is more important in life. Even if you have had the worst day, we can all confide in the beauty of music to help express our feelings and help us feel like we’re not alone in this cast, chaotic world.

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