Granger Smith is speaking out after he, along with countless other touring musicians, has been forced to cancel or postpone upcoming concerts due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Concerts, sporting events and other mass gatherings are being halted in an effort to “flatten the curve” of the outbreak. Public gathering laws have now been put in place across the country after health officials urged the American public to begin social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.
While it’s likely the right thing to do, it doesn’t make it easy for those affected by the new laws.
In a video shared to YouTube, Smith admitted that he felt “useless” being at home this weekend, as he’s used to being on the road. He went on to explain how he never thought that touring “could be something that was taken away” from him because he thought “touring was there to stay.”
In the video, Smith shared how everything began falling apart this past week while he was on his way to perform three shows in the North East.
“So, yesterday I was literally on an airplane to New York to play two shows there and one show in Pennsylvania and we get the call during our layover that all these venues and all these states are starting to pass laws against public gatherings,” he said. “Some of them are over a hundred people, some are over five hundred people, but regardless we saw kind of a domino effect starting and all these states following suit and canceling these events including ours and that is troubling. Something like that has never happened to me so I had to book a plane back home to really get home and regroup. Like I said this is never ever happened to me.”
He went on to tell fans that this is not only affecting his band and crew but the entire music business including booking agencies, promoters, record labels, venues and their owners and all other artists, no matter their stature. Explaining how it all trickles down, Smith acknowledged that this unfortunate situation is going to leave a lot of people “scrambling with no idea what to do.”
In a time when album sales are down, Smith said that he is reliant upon the money he makes from touring to make ends meet.
“Touring is my life and it has been for a long time. This is not the ole days of Garth Brooks selling all these records and making money, we as musicians, we’ve made money for a long time solely on touring, ticket sales because no one buys albums and that kind of stuff anymore. We’ve accepted that our new way of life is selling tickets,” he pointed out. “Every time we put out songs, every time we put out music, every time we get streams or plays on the radio, that’s all really just an advertisement so that you guys can buy tickets to our concerts. And we are just not set up to skip out on that, we’re not set up to say we can go a few months and just not tour and just sell records, it’s not that way, I mean it’s called there’s no more money left after that.”
And it’s not just Smith and his family relying on this money. He also has a crew that depends on him.
“What about all my guys, what about all my crew, what about all of my band, those guys are on salary. Those guys are depending on this, they’re depending on my touring company to make money so that it pays all of these salaries and it pays all the diesel and it trickles down,” he explained. “So if this goes for two weeks, we’re okay, it’ll be like I just got the flu and had to miss two weeks. If it starts going more than that, then the first thing that goes is going to be our gear, we’re gonna start chopping gear off the list, we have a lot of things that are leased like lights that are leased from companies so that stuff will start slowly trickling away. Then vehicles will start trickling away and then god forbid people and that is terrifying to me. That is absolutely terrifying and this goes for the whole industry y’all.”
Smith’s video didn’t go without acknowledging the severity of the coronavirus and how it’s proven to kill people, but he did question it some.
“How likely is it that any of us will die that are watching this video or that any of us will be severely affected,” he pondered. “Is it going to be like a light cold, or is it going to be like a pretty severe flu? Nobody really knows the answer to that.”
Smith’s video continued with him expressing his concerned over social media evoking panic and how the stress of it all is likely affecting people worse than the virus is.
He closed the clip with a bit of positivity, telling viewers: “I might be coming to your city on a bicycle and if that is the way it’s gonna be that is what it’s gonna be. I will find a way to find good in that and I hope you guys do to, Stay safe, be smart, plan and don’t worry.”
For more with Granger Smith, click the video above.
With major concerts, festivals and events getting postponed left and right, a good way to help musicians during this time is to buy their music, purchase their merchandise or stream their music.