Keeping Live Music Alive

We are now approaching the fifth month since large gatherings took a back seat to our health and we are now experiencing what some have coined as “The New Normal”. You might recall how it all started with conventions being cancelled, then city events being postponed, then any gathering over 50 people and so on and so forth. It’s sad to see our local bars still being shut down because drinking alcohol promotes social gathering and inhibits our ability to safely distance ourselves from one another (even though we can still do the same at restaurants). Unfortunately, all this physical distancing is leaving many people lonely and depressed, especially if their jobs have disappeared and money to spend on anything other than food and rent has dried out for many. And to top things off, we found out this week that federal stimulus and pandemic assistance funds for the unemployed is in limbo waiting for lawmakers to decide on whether to extend the program or modify it so people don’t get paid more for staying at home than going to work.

And although many places have either shut their doors or canceled all live entertainment due to lack of funds or inability to safely socially distance a room full of people, I am finding that if you look hard enough, you WILL still find live music in one form or another. After some trial and error, and some creativity, there are a handful of local venues that manage to scrape together just enough funds through sales of food, beverages and sometimes cover charges to pay solos, duos, trios and full bands in front of smaller yet still enthusiastic groups of people, week after week. Sure, you may have to wear a face mask when you’re not actively eating or drinking. Sure, you may not be able to hang out in the bar area and easily converse with strangers. And you should think twice before sharing a table even with people you consider friends if you happen to know how many other places they have been visiting and whether or not they take all the same precautions as you.

And if you’re not comfortable with going out to restaurants, especially indoor dining, even with all the safety measures they claim are in place, there’s always “virtual” concerts on Facebook, YouTube and once in a while on television too. For example, this past Tuesday, I watched “John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero” featuring performances by Yolanda Adams, Jon Batiste, Common, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Billy Porter and Wynonna. Last night was the first in a weekly series of live performances from Classic Albums Live via Vimeo. And tonight, if I stay inside, I might catch Sons of Mystro perform a free concert on their Facebook page. With social media sites, you can watch and even participate in the comment streams alongside the video.  Similar to going out and seeing bands at your local bars and restaurants, most of these online shows are completely free, however, you are encouraged to tip via Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, etc… After all, we all want to support live music, don’t we?

Whether you are looking for places to go out any day of the week or feel safer staying inside, please check out the continuously updated live music calendars at WeekendBroward:


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