The Covid Pandemic will continue to have a profound effect on the way we all do things for some time to come. For many, it has made us rethink what we value and what is really important. Health and wellbeing can no longer be taken for granted and neither can those that work tirelessly for the sick, vulnerable or elderly. The lockdown has had a profound affect on the Arts. All live events cancelled: museums, theatres, concert halls, libraries, stately homes – shut. Many festivals and concert seasons are postponed for the foreseeable future.
Musicians thrive on live performance and rely on it for their living. The lack of work has been devastating and continues to be so – socially distanced concerts are not viable and will never replace the buzz of a full house where people of all walks of life come together to enjoy a shared musical experience.
However despite the emotional and financial impact of the crisis, it has created new opportunities and ways of doing things.
For Music@Malling, the easiest thing to do would be to cancel all events and wait for things to return back to normal. The problem is, nobody knows when a return to “normal” or what a “new normal” will actually be: they are just words that do not convey clarity or timescale. It is an evolving situation and will continue to be so.
With schools being shut since March, many young people have had no access to musical activities. By doing nothing, musicians, audiences and young people will lose out and all that we have developed since 2011 would be dissipated and compromised.
During the lockdown, the decision was made for Music@Malling to embrace technology and find new ways of developing audiences and outreach online. With significant financial and practical support from Arts Council England, we are proud to be able to develop online resources, outreach events and concerts that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. Moving forwards, when live events return – which they will do eventually – all our activities will have an online element.
By developing our website and how we use technology, we will be able to reach new audiences, engage people that cannot attend our live events and enable young people from a much wider area to participate in our year around outreach programme. It will act as a showcase for West Malling and its surrounding villages and provide a model of how a local community can have a thriving music festival and outreach programme that has regional, national and international significance. The potential is huge and extremely exciting!
From 17th-20th October 2020 we will have a virtual festival with concerts available on pay per view basis on our website.
All our educational events are free and there are a series of curated videos and outreach events that will run throughout the year. Looking forward to 2021, we have the Six Brandenburgs: Six Commissions at Malling Abbey and Turnage at 60 – a celebration of one of the most renowned contemporary composers. Hopefully these will be with a live audience – fingers crossed!
Please sign up for our monthly newsletter which will have full details of forthcoming events.
We have also developed an online shop where you can purchase limited edition items. Every purchase will contribute towards our programme of concerts and outreach.
If you enjoy our activities – especially the many free ones – please donate. Everything that you give will massively help us develop our activities and bring the joy of music to more people.
I am delighted that we are able to have a virtual festival this October – we are all looking forward to the buzz of performing and bringing excellence to your homes live and online.
Let’s use this terrible pandemic as an opportunity for change and innovation!!
Thomas Kemp – Artistic Director