Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

A place outside the pandemic? An ethnographic study of live music events at St Gallen's cultural venue Palace during the COVID-19 crisis

List of AuthorsGligorijevic Jelena


Publication year2022

JournalPopular Music

Journal name in sourcePOPULAR MUSIC

Journal acronymPOP MUSIC

Volume number41

Issue number2

Start page216

End page237

Number of pages22




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The multiple impacts of COVID-19 on the music-culture industry have been duly discussed in a variety of public discourses, academic and otherwise. However, there is still a dearth of studies that investigate alternative face-to-face practices of live music performance and organisation during the pandemic's significant constraints on social behaviour. The present work aims to fill this gap by offering an anthropological angle on live music practices during COVID-19. It specifically draws on fieldwork that I could carry out in the autumn of 2020 at a live music venue - 'Palace' in the Swiss city of St Gallen - owing to a 'liberal' handling of the COVID-19 crisis by the St Gallen authorities. This article documents accordingly the challenges and adjustments that Palace had to undergo during pandemic times from the perspectives of producers, musicians and audiences alike. The primary focus here is on exploring changes in the venue's management, programming, audience composition and especially the musical-aesthetic experience of the venue's pandemic-compliant gigs. Finally, the article draws on the musings of my interlocutors as to whether Palace was in their experience a place outside the pandemic, to tackle the larger question of how COVID-19 has affected people's perceptions of live gigs and urban nightlife more generally.

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Last updated on 2023-07-02 at 10:12