Live musicians were the first to feel the economic crunch brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and they might be the last to get back on their feet, country music legend Ricky Skaggs told Newsmax TV.
"Entertainers were really the first to feel the pinch of the virus and the unemployment and laying everybody off and all of that," Skaggs told Friday's "Spicer & Co." "But it looks like we may be the last to really get some relief as far as getting back to working on any kind of a schedule."
Promoters have been afraid to schedule dates for shows when venues have just gotten the green light to reopen. And many can only allow 25% or 50% of the normal capacity to enter. Skaggs said with limited capacity rules in place in many states, it's not financially feasible for some promoters to hold live events, at all.
"Promoters are scared to death. We're not working. Our dates keep getting moved farther back. If something doesn't happen, we're not going to be able to work probably for the rest of this year. It's really a sad thing.
The only thing that's kept Skaggs and the crew he employs afloat has been the personal paycheck protection loans that the federal government has provided to business owners.
"It's really really difficult. Thank God for the $600 a week allowance the government has given us on our PPP for my small business. That's been able to keep my band and my crew together. But that ends July 31," Skaggs said. "If that doesn't get reworked, I don't know what's going to happen, not just to me and my group and my people, but the whole music industry, because people are canceling tours."
But Skaggs holds out faith that business will pick back up, particularly at a time when people need his joyful music the most.
"I think music is a necessary business ... It does bring joy. It brings healing. We do bluegrass, country, but we also do gospel songs and really tell people about Jesus and how his healing power and having faith in him is what keeps us all level, sane, loving people and not destroying people's businesses," Skaggs said.
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