MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Even as we are no longer at the peak of the ongoing pandemic -- the arts and entertainment culture certainly took a financial hit.
Now, many areas in the D.C. region are bringing back live entertainment including concerts.
After two years, there is much more of a robust line-up of live concerts and in person performances. That includes the Strathmore and Veterans Plaza, among many other participating venues.
"We need to support the arts because during the darker times, they have supported us, they have kept us in touch with one another," said Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the county’s arts and humanities council.
Jenkins, explained that at the start of the pandemic and when everything shut down, the county lost a lot of revenue as there were no longer opportunities to attend any live entertainment.
"We see that the average ticket in Montgomery County is about $22.50," she explained.
"There were about 2.5 million canceled tickets so we saw, that by June 2021, losses were projected to increase to about $81 million. We lost a projected $57 million in economic activity and local audience spending from 9,000 canceled cultural events in 2020."
The huge hit was also a devastating time for local artists. That includes Daryl Davis of Silver Spring.
"In March of 2020, my calendar and just like any musicians’ calendar, got completely wiped out," said Davis. "All the gigs were gone, clubs were closed."
That meant, many performers and entertainers were struggling to make ends meet.
"So many musicians I know, the ones that I know personally, did not do so well because they rely on that gig money especially if you’re a full time musician," explained Davis.
Jenkins explained that during that time, the county’s arts and humanities, stepped up with its general operating support budget and provided individual artists with grant money to help them.
"Music is integral to our lives and it’s something that brings us comfort or joy," explained Lisa Martin, the executive director of the Silver Spring Town Center.
Martin said that local live performances have started to take hold once again such as the Silver Spring Blues Festival, a month ago.
"I think that this two plus year pause that we had, really highlighted something that we took for granted," she said. The town center is now getting ready for its Annual Harvest Moon Festival coming up in September.
"This is our job, our career," said Davis. "People tend to believe that music is a luxury not a necessity and I say this not because I’m a musician but because it’s true music is necessity."
The county has a full calendar of where and when you can catch the next live show, or an in person performance. Click on https://www.culturespotmc.com/ for more information