StarLifestyle reported today that when it came to concerts, most Malaysians polled said they will not be attending live concerts at all this year.

Since March 18, Malaysians have been adhering to the movement control order (MCO) in a battle against the spread of the coronavirus. On May 4, Malaysia started the conditional MCO, loosening the movement control rules a little. But live concerts and any events involving the gathering of a large group of people are still a no-no

That is why Arts, Live, International Festivals and Events Association (Alife) – a non-profit organisation representing companies managing, presenting and promoting live events in Malaysia – hopes to work with the government and various stakeholders on how to hold events safely post-Covid-19.

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Alife has sent a 50-page proposal to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia to work out the SOP so the music and tourism industry can stay alive.

Para Rajagopal, Alife chairman, believes holding a smaller concert at a bigger venue – to obey the social distancing rule – and keeping it to a sit-down affair are some of the steps for concerts to continue. “Having some sort of concert is still a better option than having no concerts at all,” he said.

The owner of PR Worldwide, the company that has hosted Bruno Mars and Russell Peters also said, “The challenge now is to get proper preemptive measures and SOP approved by the authorities. But there hasn’t been much feedback so far. We are only recommending seated shows where you can actually control the distance. In our proposal we are also quite detailed, breaking down pre-event, during-event and post-event measures.”

Para Rajagopal

Alife is also initiating contact tracing – getting the details during ticket sales, so prompt action can be taken by contacting other concertgoers if one attendee turns out to be a virus carrier. “We would keep this data up to one year, so we can retrace everyone,” said Para.

One of the safest and most cost-effective ways Para figures for now is to gather a small group for a live event and livestream it to audiences. He explained, “We are coming up with hybrid events where you have a small capacity with social distancing measures in place and then you can stream out that event to people, either for a fee or as sponsored content. This way, there is still some form of activity with lighting and staging, instead of everything being stagnant.”

Music fan Sathiya Devi, 39, is against the idea of attending a concert in person. “I will not be going to any concert even if there is a vaccine for Covid-19. At least for the next two years or so. I don’t want to put myself at risk because you don’t know who the rest of the concertgoers are, where they have been and what they have been up to. Covid-19 and its repercussions are just too fresh in my memory for me to ignore it and go to, not just a concert, but any big gathering, anytime soon.”

Mojo Projects’ hugely anticipated event, Maestro Ilaiyaraaja Live in KL Concert, is scheduled to happen in less than 3 weeks. The concert was initially supposed to take place on the 14th of March was rescheduled to June 20th over Covid-19 concerns. Up until now, there is no word from the organisers regarding the concert.

Apart from Ilaiyaraaja, SP Balasubrahmanyam, Mano, Haricharan, Shweta Mohan, Usha Uthup, Surmukhi, Vibhavari, Madhu Balakrishnan, Mukesh, Priya Himesh, Bhavatharini and Anitha were scheduled to entertain the audience at this concert.

Most of them hail from Tamil Nadu, the state in India which is currently under lockdown up until June 30th. So far, Mojo Projects has not announced any refunds for ticket holders of this concert.

More to follow.