The Day the Music Died: Inside COVID’s Devastating Effect on Live Music. Part II: Indoor Concerts

For many musicians, Prague was one city, among many other stops, over the course of a lengthy tour. That stopped in March 2020. Concerts ceased to exist and venues closed their doors for an indefinite length of time.

That, however incrementally, shows signs of change. 

This is the second installment – focusing on indoor concerts – of a three-part series that examines COVID’s impact on live music in the Czech Republic. The opening segment on club culture can be found here

Prague Morning had a lengthy conversation with Michal Brenner, the director of music management for MeetFactory. This discussion covered a variety of topics including the suspension of live concerts, the complications faced by a live music venue throughout the pandemic, and the possible return of international acts to the capital city.

Describe MeetFactory’s significance to the live music scene in Prague?

For the past 11 years, we’ve brought emerging and upcoming artists to Prague to do their first or second shows in the Czech Republic. We never try to repeat ourselves.

When the pandemic began with entire tours cancelled on a regular basis what were your initial thoughts?

We saw it coming for a few weeks based on what was happening in Italy. We initially thought it would be a six month break and then things would return to normal.

When did the reality hit that live music was suspended indefinitely?

Pretty quickly. Somewhere around a month or so. And then having to reschedule shows for the fifth or sixth time became tiresome.

What were the biggest complications you faced?

Staying optimistic that things will turn out fine in the end was, and still is, one of the biggest challenges.

Small tours, mainly in the United States, have been announced. Do you feel international acts might be returning to Prague soon?

They will return, but not so soon perhaps. Tours take months to plan. A typical road tour has around 18 shows in 12 countries over a period of something close to 20 days. Predictable and stable conditions are needed. I suspect we’ll only see handful of international acts this year.

Finally, how do you envision the return of live music? What is it going to look like? 

It will be slower and more gradual than people think. The government giving a green light is only the beginning of a long process. That is not the final step.


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