Sari Schorr / COVID-19 pushing fragile musicians to the brink

16 September 2021

New York blues-rock singer/songwriter Sari Schorr has opened up about the terrible difficulties in finalising her autumn European. The tour is scheduled to include the UK, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway and The Netherlands.

“It feels like a frantic game of Whack-A-Mole as COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine mandates pop up every day,” Sari told MetalTalk. “My tour diary has been revised so many times Neil Young would say, ‘the devil fools with the best-laid plans.'”

There are constant changes to the regulations around travelling through Europe, making planning a tour a harrowing experience. “Every change in the schedule wreaks havoc with our tour,” Sari says.

“Mandatory quarantines for five or ten days are a financial hit we can’t afford. As a result, we’ve just had to cancel shows in The Netherlands and Switzerland. We love touring the UK, but we depend on the income from mainland Europe and losing shows puts the entire tour in jeopardy.”

Sari hopes the tour will prove to eventually be a light at the end of the tunnel for what has been a troubling time for her. “I’ve spent much of the last 18 months in isolation,” Sari told us. “I struggle with depression and obsessive thinking, and being grounded from touring has been a persistent stressor.”

Photo of Sari Schorr
Sari Schorr. Photo: William Raskin

Hurdles, obstacles, and pitfalls

Touring musicians and their crews have been hit hard during the pandemic. There are still hurdles, obstacles, and pitfalls aplenty, and Sari has faced such stumbling blocks first-hand and gives honest insights into the challenges facing an international touring band.

“As restrictions ease throughout Europe, last-minute bookings are coming in, but we’re struggling to find affordable flights and accommodations at short notice,” she says. “An international tour can take six months of planning, but operating under the pandemic affords bands little more than a few weeks of hasty preparation. The short lead-time also presents a financial risk since proper promotion is curbed. Besides, we fear audiences may not yet return to live music in pre-covid numbers.”

This all leads to anxious times. “The complications don’t stop there,” Sari says. “Rules on mask-wearing, proof of double-vaccination, and/or COVID-negative tests vary from venue to venue across the entire tour. There is so much confusion and uncertainty that you can’t escape the anxiety.”

Keeping everyone safe

“I realise there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” she says, “but my priority is to keep my band and fans safe. I support a venue’s option to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. The best we can do is work with venues to make sure they are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe.”

Despite the challenges, obstacles, and roadblocks, the ever-resilient and committed Sari is looking forward to returning to touring, bringing her electrifying powerhouse modern-day soul and blues back to her fans, live and in person.

“The pandemic has made us all face circumstances beyond our control,” she says. “I’m acknowledging the psychological impact while incorporating a sense of resilience by changing my perspective on things. I remind myself that freedom is having the opportunity to dream.

“And, COVID-19 can’t kill my dreams.”

As we wait for tour confirmation, please check sarischorr.com/tour for confirmed dates.

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