The show must go on. But when? Those backstage wait for the curtain to rise again

nstallation of professional sound, light, video and stage equipment for a concert. Lifting of line array speakers.
Photo credit Getty / mikhail badaev

Kansas City, MO - The cancellation and postponement of shows and concerts due to the pandemic has impacted not just artists, performers, and fans... but stagehands and roadies as well.

In cities like Kansas City, hundreds that work as backstage crew are out of work.

"You know, you have ticket takers, you have stagehands, you have production managers, you have road crew. Everything from concessions to janitors, to everything in between," says Hank Wiedel.

Wiedel is a talent buyer for Mammoth Live, an event production company based in Lawrence, KS that produces concerts and live events around this part of the Midwest. 

He says in the first few weeks of the emergency stay-at-home orders across the region, he had to cancel or postpone dozens of shows throught the end of the year.

We might assume that concerts and shows will return at some point. But when? And during a pandemic, how exactly?

Wiedel says it's so hard to tell right now. He guesses that it could be Spring of 2021 before smaller shows return, and even later for the larger acts and events.

"Personally, you know, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a lot of those events may not return until 2022... or at all."

The business of shows and concerts, and the way we see them, will change he predicts, at least in the next few years.

"It's going to be a different approach from a touring perspective, you know, the money is going to be different, the touring climate is going to be different," he says. "The way that we see shows is going to be a lot different."