Last Year A DJ Saved My Life

No one would have survived the pandemic without music, now places are reopening will people flock to the venues?

By Kitty Smith | @kittysmithmedia. Images by @yayzus_tattoo and Josh Sorenson.

Photo by Josh Sorenson.

In March 2020, the lives of the UK population changed dramatically. With music venues being forced to shut due to the rise of  COVID-19, many suffered from devastating financial losses and risk of permanent closure. Employment in the music industry plummeted by 35% in 2020 resulting in a loss of 69,000 jobs across the UK. But with the reopening of some venues and a return of live music, how do music fans feel as we start to return to normality? 

An Independent UK survey in February 2022 revealed that 89% of people listened to more music during lockdown than they did pre-pandemic, claiming that it helped them to cope with the stresses of lockdown. “If i didn’t have music, I would have lost my mind!” states a member of the public I spoke to. They are not alone, however, with many reporting feelings ranging from low mood, anxiety and disappointment to extreme loneliness. Keeping oneself occupied during lockdown was a task we all struggled with, with many people turning to music as a form of mindfulness, helping to reduce stress and improve positive thinking. 97% of people stated that listening to music helped to  improve their mood, eliminating those lonely feelings. For many, this was achieved by creating collaborative playlists with friends and family or listening to their favorite DJ on the radio- allowing them to feel a sense of connection. Scientific research reveals that music can release a hormone called oxytocin (commonly referred to as the love hormone) that plays a role in the ability to connect with others.

“Music gave me a reason to survive”

Illustration by @yayzus_tattoo

89.5% of people said that they missed live music during lockdown, the key reasons being a lack of social interaction and the exhilaration of live performance. With the encouraging news of music venues reopening and long awaited concerts now going ahead, there is much to look forward to for live music fans. According to an independent survey, an encouraging amount of people will be attending the same amount or more concerts this year compared to before lockdown, with an overwhelming perception that there is a need to make up for lost time and celebrate in a way that only music can. However, not everyone is keen to engage in a crowded and unrestricted atmosphere yet, as many are left hesitant due to the uncertainty and ever changing face of COVID-19. The emotional hangover of the pandemic coupled with financial implications of cancellations, leaves some gig-goers reluctant to attend events for now.

It’s plain to see that music is an emotive subject. Music is in our day to day lives. A song on the radio can stir emotions and memories, so it’s easy to see how music has positively impacted people throughout the pandemic. The survey reveals that there’s an overwhelming sense that we, perhaps, took live music somewhat for granted pre-pandemic. This was echoed in some of the responses received, with one individual even stating “it saved my life,” and another commenting “it gave me a reason to survive.”

Overall, the survey revealed a general sense of optimism for the future of music and just how impactful it can be. As we emerge from lockdown it’s heartening to think of how many people found comfort and unity by simply listening to their favourite music. 


Magazine and website celebrating Nottingham's stories.

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