Days of Rona: Sven Müller of ElbSludgeBooking

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

sven mueller elbsludgebooking

Days of Rona: Sven Müller of ElbSludgeBooking (Dresden, Germany)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a promoter? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

First of all: We are a crew of 20 peeps and set up shows for fun. We don’t depend on it — at least financially. Thus far we had to cancel nine shows with 24 bands due to Corona. We still have two shows on in May — a festival and a regular show with two bands. For the fest three bands from abroad have cancelled already, so if the fest is possible we will try to find local bands to jump in. Right now our plan for the rest of the year is to forget about our annual summer break and do some extra shows in July/August if shows are allowed. And we try to move some of the cancelled shows or bands to the fall. The real problem is that this crisis affects all genres so the always crammed September and October will be full to the absolute max. And all without even knowing if we can do shows by then at all.

Healthwise we are all good. Only actual case I heard of in the closer community is one pupil at the school of my godchild.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

People are told to stay home as much as possible. No shows/parties allowed. If you need to go out only two persons together are allowed and only for sports and groceries. Bigger families can go outdoors together though. I work mainly at a theatre and it is closed now until the end of April so I am home with my kids since the kindergarten/school is closed.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

It is a huge blow to the music scene, be it bookers, labels, promoters and bands. For professional bands depending on gigs it is a nightmare. On the other hand we do a lot of shows with smaller bands too who don’t rely on the money from touring so it is not that tough I guess. Some of them will even save money.

Within my community the general feeling is that we can get through this alive and we can cope with this situation. There is so much going on everywhere and it’s hard to keep track of all the information buzzing around. So we sit here and wait – watching live shows on Facebook, drinking some beers and thinking what we can do with our lives without LIVE MUSIC!

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a promoter, or personally, or anything?

For the music scene I suggest to bands to consider to tour Europe in January and February 2021. Before that the competition will be tough. With the warm winters lately the conditions to tour here are quite okay.

Personally for me it could be worse. I have time for my kids, I have the internet, my guitar, time to cook properly and some new albums on Bandcamp. If only there would be one live gig each week. And a constant flow of free money too. Lol

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