North East band Camel Island reflect on the effects of global pandemic on musicians

Written by on 18th December 2023

Camel Island pictured above [Jay Morris, William Gofton, Daniel Taylor, Alex Lipanov] (Credit: Jake Granlund) 

North East band Camel Island claims that the global pandemic COVID-19 put a “pause” on their musical progression. 

The band, formerly known as Bottle Rocket, won the Young Performer category at the 2019 Best of South Tyneside Awards, but have found their music career stalling since. 

They believe this was largely due to the Covid pandemic.

Lead singer William Gofton, 19, said: “We definitely struggled through the pandemic, as did everyone. 

“We went from practicing twice a week every week to nothing at all, except maybe a group phone call discussing the band’s future maybe once every few weeks. It definitely did put a pause on our musical progression.

“We were meant to record a short EP featuring a bunch of songs we had written at the time but that obviously fell through. 

“Jay [Morris] didn’t even bother picking up his bass throughout the main bulk of lockdown and we didn’t have a chance to practice properly altogether for a good half a year.

“When we first started playing cover gigs in South Shields, it was just as the Covid restrictions were being lifted so it was very hard to book gigs”. 

Despite the setback faced by the band, Gofton did not seem negative about this.  On a more positive note, he added: “I think it [the pandemic] gave us a chance for our music tastes to grow and also gave us the space to realise we weren’t ready to release music and should probably get a bit more experience gigging under our belts first.” 

The band currently has four released singles: Autopilot, Too Soon, Stalling, and She’s the One. 

With the pandemic slowing the progression of many artists, music fans are pleased to see the music industry returning to normal. 

University student Ana Wylie, 18, said: “I think Covid massively affected upcoming artists

“For about two years everything was put on hold. When it’s people’s livelihoods, I can imagine it damaged people both economically and mentally. 

“It’s been great to see many upcoming artists this year find their feet again!” 

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