It could be so beautiful. Stefan Kästner now has his hands full. Currently, the concert manager travels around Germany from one place to another, bringing stars such as Mark Forster, Johannes Oerding, Clueso and Ben Zucker to the stage. For two years, a virus that suddenly appeared severely torpedoed his work – but this summer suddenly there is “great freedom” again, everything is open and concerts, which have been postponed several times for years, can finally be made up for.
“In two years, a lot has broken down”
It could be so beautiful. But it is not. Not for the concert promoter personally and not for his entire industry in general. – We have decisive weeks ahead of us – warns the 40-year-old with a view to autumn and winter, for which now a course needs to be drawn. The future of the entire industry and many places is at stake. “We are far from what is happening,” he sees rough months ahead of him, even if there is little evidence at the moment of a corona limitation.
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“The last two years have damaged a lot in our industry, and we are still collecting pieces” – he does not hide the difficult situation. Sure, now artists could finally perform again and people could go to concerts. But right now, he can’t really say if these events will pay off at all: “I have a tendency to tunnel vision. After all, we are doing what we have been planning for a long time. But now in completely different conditions and at completely different costs. Nobody can make up for lost years. And looking at tomorrow, you can be scared and worried, ”says Kästner as he draws a dark script.
The anticipation has given way to a kind of “frenzy”.
Selling tickets for scheduled indoor concerts is extremely difficult and difficult. “People are very worried. The first experts and politicians are already fueling fears of further corona waves and spreading uncertainty. Who in such an environment should decide to buy a ticket? ” Stefan Kästner posed questions primarily to politics. With regular concert goers, cards would be accumulated due to the constant postponement of events. He knows there was a lot to catch up and work on. And for people who would choose very selectively and for whom concerts are rather rare, great experiences, the purchase is sometimes out of the question. “You don’t trust the situation.”
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Waiting for such events turned into a kind of “fear of fear”, especially before the indoor season in autumn and winter. “Anyone who has been hammered into how dangerous a concert can be for life and health for two years can no longer really enjoy the music or other events,” Kästner can even understand the guests. Discussions on the mask requirement are already underway, but an appropriate corona discharge strategy has not yet been identified. “And if someone has to worry that everything will suddenly have to close again, and events postponed or canceled, then they might not buy tickets from the very beginning.”
The Revolverheld team has already canceled the tour
When the artists ask him what will happen in the coming months, the concert manager admits that he cannot recommend tour plans with a clear conscience. And he is not alone in the industry with these fears. The Hamburg-based Revolverheld band canceled their tour scheduled for early 2023 a few days ago. “Unfortunately, we fear the worst again in winter,” singer Johannes Strate said in a video message on Instagram.
A message on Johannes Strate’s Instagram
No one can guarantee that cultural activities can be held in winter. “According to statements from Drosten and Co., unfortunately our industry suffers from Long Covid. We probably won’t be the only ones who have to take this step now. ” The band thought for a long time, but the uncertainty among the artists, organizers and visitors was still too great. The “New Stories” tour was to start on January 24 in Leipzig and take the band to several cities.
Significant staff shortages after the Corona era
In addition to uncertainty, the cultural sector also has other problems that stem from the Crown period, explains Kästner. “It’s already the case that some organizers have to cancel concerts due to a lack of staff.” Due to the uncertainty persisting for years, combined with shortened work or total absence from work, many employees of the event industry suffered the consequences and looked for other jobs. “So we now have to make up for the postponed gigs of two years with fewer people in a very short time and then try to start the normal operations again. Sometimes it seems impossible, ”said the concert manager.
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This dangerous situation must reach politicians, Stefan Kästner sends an appeal to those responsible in Berlin, Schwerin and other state governments. The event industry, like other sectors of the economy, has been supported by Corona for two years and is grateful for it. However, in order to be able to recover from the pandemic of years on its own, reliable working conditions should be determined as soon as possible. “We have developed hygiene concepts with tests and protective mechanisms in all possible situations. But if there is already a vague discussion about masking compulsory and access restrictions instead of making clear plans, we’ll be thrown key to work.
Industry threatens to “die in installments”
The danger is great that in the coming years there will only be concerts “from O to O”, that is, from Easter to October. “Purely seasonal business will not feed the people who work for us,” warns the organizer of the concert. There can always be big concerts in stadiums performed by big bands, but many event buildings in small and medium-sized towns such as Neubrandenburg are at risk of emptying or even closing. “If we turn into a traveling circus, outside of the big cities, there is a threat of cultural desolation.”
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That is why Kästner once again cautioned politicians on behalf of the industry as a whole: “Sit down with the organizers and now clearly define the conditions under which culture can exist in fall and winter.” Otherwise, the entire industry is threatened with death in installments. “And then it gets pretty quiet in some places.”