This past year has been difficult and challenging for all of us. However, some have been struggling more than others. Especially the culture and entertainment sector in most countries has been suffering immensely due to the Covid restrictions. Clubs have been closed for a year now, musicians cannot play in front of an audience, concert venues have been and still are vacant, many self-employed artists and performers go bankrupt, as it is almost impossible to find Covid-friendly alternatives to earn money, and the list goes on. It becomes clear that huge companies, which are indeed crucial for a country’s economy, get showered with financial support from governments around the world while creatives in the culture sector have barely received any funds or even no funds at all. Nevertheless, musicians, artists and performers are essential components of our cultures and beneficial to the economy.
This leads to the question of what the governments prioritises say about our values? This “ranking” deems everything culture related as “not as important”. But what and who are we without culture and entertainment? Will we appreciate cultural events, which we might have taken for granted before, more after the pandemic? How much culture and entertainment will be left afterwards, as many are currently losing their hard-earned livelihoods?
Let’s talk about culture in our society. Culture in terms of museums, theatres, concerts, clubs and more can be an escape from our stressful realities and at the same culture is part of our daily life. Culture connects us to one another. It helps us get to know other people better, including ourselves. It can create a bond between you and a stranger, something that you have in common. Culture is rich and dynamic, a form of expression – letting go of constraints. Culture is, looking at painting in stillness; dancing, and screaming your lungs out at a concert; silently sobbing during a movie at the cinema. Entertainment is, relishing a spontaneous night out with friends and enjoying music from all over the world. These activities were natural to the majority of people before the pandemic. Usually, they are spontaneous ideas that do not require much planning.
Right now, we cannot enjoy any of these things – what does this really mean for us? How has it changed us? We might feel disconnected, lonely, empty or cramped. However, the focus here should be on the “we”. When we should be sticking together, it seems like we are drifting more apart as a society. The typical saying is that “we should appreciate the little things in life”. But what if those “little things” are in fact not that little? The same goes for culture. Having the possibility to enjoy cultural activities is not naturally given – it is a luxury. Hopefully, everyone, including governments, will learn to appreciate the necessity of culture for us human beings. Because what and who are we without culture and the meaning it gives to us every day?
Written by: Alexa Zsigmond // Photo credit: Tom Dillon