The Cost of Coronavirus: How Young Guv Ended Up Stranded in New Mexico After Tour Cancellation
Cancellations left Ben Cook and half of the band’s touring members stuck north of Santa Fe
In the past week, an unprecedented economic shut down caused by coronavirus upended the music industry. Independent bands — many who have no safety net — were most vulnerable to the shutdown, especially those touring, which is what keeps them afloat financially. That includes Young Guv.
Independent bands like Young Guv invest their money into touring and use the profits to pay for their day-to-day expenses. Unfortunately for the New York-based band, coronavirus restrictions occurred before they could recoup any money on their recently canceled tour.
“I was halfway through a 27 show in-a-row tour, half my own headlining shows and the other half supporting White Reaper in America. I have a band of four guys, merch, a van, and a driver. I pulled the plug due to COVID-19 halfway into the tour with expenses putting me deep in the red,” singer/songwriter Ben Cook tells SPIN.
However, the tour cancellation was just the beginning of the malaise. Young Gov were effectively stuck in Texas with no funds to get home. Through the help of social media, they were able to get help.
They shared their GoFundMe through social media and were able to raise over $6,000 — their initial goal was $5,000 — which helped half of the touring members get home. Cook and the other touring members weren’t as lucky because they had sublet their apartments in New York before going on tour.
“Unable to continue the tour and flatten out some of the overhead costs with the future show fees it put me in a tight place,” Cook says. “The other half of us were unable to return to our apartments back in New York City. We are now in the remote mountains of New Mexico with no WiFi or phone signal.”
Since the tour wasn’t supposed to end until late-May, Young Guv may be stuck north of Santa Fe for a few months. Cook is waiting to see how things turn out before making his next move. For now, he will livestream acoustic performances from to raise money for other struggling artists who may be stuck in a similar predicament. Cook hopes streaming platforms will help struggling artists who need financial support and offers advice to streamers who can help out musicians in their time of need.
“This pandemic will hit everyone hard, and the music industry will be no exception. Spotify and Apple Music the very entities that have robbed so many musicians of future careers haven’t made a peep. They should be the first ones reaching back to us and lending a hand. Not really the way the system works though. It’s tragic to think that such a low paid and unquestionably poorly compensated musician’s life is only getting worse. All I can say is support bands directly.”