There are lots of ways for us to help our friends, neighbors, and communities during the difficult challenges that for many have already begun and will likely persist for the next several weeks, or even months. In our Getting Through COVID-19, Together series, we will look at specific ways to do just that.
(If you would like to contribute to this series, please let us know at email@example.com, or message us on Facebook.)
The following is a guest submission from Casey Callison.
Supporting Local Musicians
It’s no secret that the food industry is struggling right now. In many cities and states there are requirements that forbid dine-in eating. This has been causing a lot of issues with restaurants not able to get the customers they need to keep their doors open, which has led to the layoff (some temporary, some not) of too many wait staff and cooks to count. What’s not being talked about are the musicians that are also adversely affected by the shutdowns.
Many musicians – whether it be local or world-renowned – are being hurt because of gathering limits and restaurant/bar closures. Every single touring musician I’ve been following has had to cancel tour dates and lay off their road crews because of it. The arenas and venues can’t pay the staff that would normally work those shows. Locally based musicians can’t get gigs in the bars and restaurants they normally call home, and nobody is out to tip the buskers who play their hearts out on the street corners for tips.
However, the silver lining is that people have found creative ways in order to combat the suppression of art that’s happening during the self-quarantines. People like Neil Young, Marcus King, and Willie Nelson are playing shows that are being streamed live to Facebook and YouTube. Here in Springfield, Missouri, a local music shop (Springfield Music) is doing a local artist spotlight where they bring in a local artist to play for a while and provide a virtual way for viewers to tip, if they feel so inclined.
The timing of this virus is especially bad because we just made it through winter, which is slow for shows, and gigs were about to start ramping back up. Savings that were made through spring and summer gigs are starting to run out for a lot of us. There have already been a lot of gig cancellations – like last night we had a gig cancelled due to the situation.
(Follow them on Facebook for news of live stream events. You will NOT be disappointed.)
So check in with your local bands. Follow them on Facebook. Watch their live streams. Send tips if you’re able. They’re working hard to provide a light in our world that cannot be replaced. They pour their hearts and souls into their work every single day, not just when we see them on stage. They deserve a good living just like anyone else because this world would suck without art.