- 13 Dec 21
Laura McCabe is an artist manager, consultant and publicity expert for Jawdropper Music. As the fresh wave of Covid-19 restrictions stay in place until at least January 9th as a result of a rise in cases, Hot Press speaks to those in the creative industries who have seen their daily lives heavily impacted.
Well, we’ve all been on some roller coaster the last year or so eh? Stop, start, open, close. It’s a minefield. I think the main words that have been reverberating around the place recently are words like disheartening, exhausting, soul-destroying and defeating. Like many of my peers in the industry, myself and my artists have had to move shows due to the rise in numbers and the latest restrictions being brought into place. It has been a year honestly filled with a lot of turmoil, and the feeling that anything could be pulled last minute, at any given time. This is no way to live or to work day-to-day.
The knock on effect it is having on artists is massive - with most of them losing steam to keep going, to keep rescheduling, to keep positive about the impact this is all having on their livelihoods. They’re spending more time worrying about something that might not ever happen, instead of being able to focus on their art, own practice and good mental health.
As an artist manager, the mental health and well-being of the artists I work with is my primary concern, and this year has certainly been the toughest year for them. How can we plan and strategise properly if there’s never a guarantee things will happen? You can only stay positive for so long before finally giving in to despair. So, it’s been challenging nonetheless at keeping their spirits high, their minds focused on the positives - and my own too!
While I can understand the need to put in some kind of restrictions around live events, I feel like we are severely under represented and rarely taken seriously. It feels like our industry is just this ‘nice to have’ thing that exists in the world for others - where it’s day in, day out our livelihoods, passions, dreams and careers. And then after months of being careful, putting things in place to keep audiences safe - we find out that the HSE has not been collecting contact tracing information from live venues or nightclubs as they are not “priority areas”. How can we not be a priority area, yet we are the first to close or be restricted when numbers start to rise?
With no concrete plans in place, it gives people in my position zero kind of foresight for any kind of planning, and therefore we’re all knee-jerk reacting to information that comes out on the news. No planning, no warning and no conversations. I feel like we were ignored for months when this all kicked off, and are still being kept on the back burner and forgotten about.
It’s great to see the financial support systems coming through, and while I am hugely grateful for those, the mentality about how our industry is viewed as a whole has been pretty disheartening. And that trickles down to the artists - and we need to protect our artists now more than ever. If you know someone who works in the music industry, no doubt they’ve been having a nightmare of a year.
With things opening and closing at the drop of a hat, and overnight people losing weeks and months of work - reach out to them and check that they’re doing ok. I for one have been finding it tough recently, and it’s all feeling very surreal and dystopian - and I’m left wondering, what will the next year, two years look like?
It can be a pretty daunting experience, but I know the Irish music industry is filled with brilliant, resilient people. And we will be back stronger than ever - once we’re allowed to..! I’m so lucky to work with brilliant artists who keep me sane with their incredible music and spirits - without them I would be lost.
And I’m lucky to be on the Jawdropper team who’ve always been a great guide when things turn upside down. Special shout out to the incredible women of Irish Women's Music Management Forum (IWMMF) who have been ROCKS throughout the last two years - and are a constant source of inspiration and empowerment.
Whoever is reading this - this is tough. We’re all feeling it, and you’re not alone. Hang in there, we will make it through and soon there will be a day we can dance and hug again without fear. Until then, talk to your friends, peers and others in the industry. Mind yourself and those around you. And write some deadly tunes that we can one day all celebrate together at some unforgettable live shows.
- Minding Creative Minds services can now be contacted by texting ‘Hi’ to 087 369 0010 for SMS & WhatsApp Support (standard rate applies) with a qualified psychotherapist / counsellor.