Lives Upended – Holly

Photo provided by Holly.

This series illustrates COVID-19’s effect on Midwesterners — one person at a time.

“I started working in the music industry in 2015, and the majority of my job is going on the road with artists and shooting all of their photo and video content while they’re on tour. I also do graphic design and create things like artists’ album art, tour posters, and merch to supplement my income while I’m not on tour.

“I’ve known it’s what I wanted to do since I was about 14 or 15 years old, to the point where as I was finishing my first semester of college, I just started emailing bands with my photography portfolio and practically begging them to take me on the road. One said yes, and I skipped out on a lot of my finals for the opportunity.

“I put every waking second into working as hard as I could on that tour, and every job I’ve ever gotten since has stemmed from a connection I made on that one. Live music is my favorite thing in the world, and my favorite thing about what I do is getting to spend my life so surrounded by that, and getting to see the entire country in the process.

“COVID-19 effectively shut down the entire music industry, as touring is the most profitable sector of it, and the social distancing we all need to practice to remain safe is the opposite of the environment that can exist in any live music situation. I went from having two tours booked… to absolutely nothing, and no income stream at all for the foreseeable future. My job is the most important thing in the world to me, so not being able to do the thing that makes me happiest… has definitely had an effect on my mental health, as well. It’s been hard to cope with.

“I think you’ll be looking at a lot more one-off shows and festivals as opposed to tours, to limit this idea of an artist being in one place, meeting and hugging lots of fans, and then going someplace else the very next night to potentially spread around the germs of everyone they interacted with to the next crop of fans they meet. No matter how it changes, though, I’m just excited for it to end because I can’t wait to be back in the environment that I feel like I thrive in. It feels like I’m missing a piece of myself when I’m not surrounded by live music, so I just can’t wait to have that back in any capacity.”

— Holly

New York, New York

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