One of the many pitfalls of COVID-19 that people faced almost immediately last March was the lack of live concerts. Rolling Stone reports that “The global concert business, which was poised for a record year when 2020 began, lost $9.7 billion in ticket sales alone.”
It continues, “With another $30 billion lost in sponsorships, concessions, merchandise and other ancillary factors, many expect the concert industry will eventually return to its lucrative pre-COVID era, but it will be a long, complicated climb back.”
Despite this struggle, John Brown University-based band Maple Street has been determined to continue live performances in order to foster community and bring a piece of normalcy back to campus. Carson Moon, sophomore intercultural studies major and member of the band, said, “The concert was incredibly fun. We try as a band to make our shows welcoming and engaging for the audience, which consisted of many of our friends on campus. All that leads to a very enjoyable night of live music.”
The group, who performed on March 26, first debuted at JBU’s 2020 edition of the Next Big Thing, which was rescheduled from its original date due to the untimely news that the remainder of the spring 2020 semester would be spent remotely. The group performed later in the semester and ultimately won the competition.
While COVID-19 hasn’t been easy, the band has fought through the uncertainty of the past year. “COVID-19 as a whole has just been another hurdle to get over. At first, it presented the issue of how we were going to practice each night, which we solved by practicing outside during the warmer months and indoor practice facilities, with permission from JBU, during the colder months. Eventually you learn to live with the obstacles, and you know how to get around them easier and easier,” said Moon.
He continued, “Coordinating concerts/performances has been interesting; there have not been many public events around the city/area so far to be a part of, so we have had to plan our own shows or help at the request of ResLife and other student-led activity planners to put our shows on. All-in-all, I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a band, even though it hasn’t been easy.” Priscilla Hall, senior biology major and band member, said, “Over this semester, the biggest issue has been finding places to play where we can be spaced out enough to not have to mask up and to where we can have a real audience. I think that, overall, the band has gotten through the barriers really well. The guys still find ways to practice outside and perform at random times throughout the semester.”