The music industry has struggled to survive since the pandemic began. The Berlin concert scene faces the new year with mixed feelings.


For two years, bands and musicians had to skip many gigs – and the new year also begins with great uncertainty. Now they fear and hope to see the fans again soon.

Just like the Berlin rock band Kadavar: “I can’t wait to be able to play a normal tour again. I miss traveling with the band and the exuberance you can give and take with you during a show”, says drummer Christoph Bartelt of the German Press Agency. At the same time, he fears that things will continue like this forever. “When I imagine that someone close to me would be badly affected, that scares me the most.”

Finally playing normal gigs again

During the first year of the pandemic, concerts were hardly possible. And if so, only in unusual circumstances: greats like Heino, Nena and Karat have played in front of fans sitting in the car or on picnic blankets. Last summer, after several pilot projects, concert halls slowly reopened. Indoor concerts were possible again – but only with proof of vaccination or recovery. With the start of the fourth wave in the fall of 2021, many concert tours have again been postponed. Inconsistent rules in federal states were also mentioned as a reason. Groups and organizers are now waiting for spring and a drop in the number of infections.

Jens Oberthür, one of the three managing directors of the Berlin booking agency Powerline, points out the great uncertainty that has not disappeared in the new concert year. The agency has many independent artists under contract. At the start of the pandemic, the market crashed by 80%, which is still the case today. Successful hygiene concepts would have caused optimism in the summer of 2021. But because of the new Omikron variant, it is no longer clear whether and when regular concerts will be possible again. He also expects an immense number of concerts and the corresponding competitive situation for this year, since new tours and concerts will be added to those of 2020 and 2021, some of which have been postponed several times. (dpa)