Like many musicians, J Mascis, the leader of the stalwart alt-rock band Dinosaur Jr., has struggled through a year without touring.
“I’ve never been home this long since, like, high school,” Mascis said in a phone interview from his home in western Massachusetts. “To have no idea when or if you can do anything again, just sitting around,” he added, trailing off. “My mental health has definitely suffered.”
But a few weeks ago, Dinosaur Jr. took a step toward normalcy by announcing an extensive fall tour, with a handful of warm-up dates booked for as early as May.
“We’re not naïve; we know we might have to reschedule,” Mascis said. “But just to have something on the books somehow makes things a bit more hopeful.”
33 percent of their regular capacity, up to 100 people for indoor spaces. Throughout the country, rules from local governments have kept many clubs and theaters closed, or allowed them to operate at reduced capacities — which for many of those places does not allow enough business to cover the basic costs of operating and of paying artists and employees, said Audrey Fix Schaefer of the 9:30 Club in Washington.
“The only thing worse than being totally shuttered is being partially reopened,” said Fix Schaefer, who is also the communications director for the National Independent Venue Association.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant fund, which they can apply for starting April 8 — are eager for the business.
The relative handful of clubs and theaters set to reopen in the spring are doing so with altered seating plans, temperature checks and adjusted financial deals with performers. A recent rock concert in Spain, with extensive Covid-19 protections, drew 5,000 fans. These events are being watched closely by the concert industry, which went into 2020 anticipating its biggest year ever but ended up losing nearly $10 billion in box office revenue, according to data collected by Pollstar, a trade publication.