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Issues re: post-quarantine music venues


Moonglow

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I"m wondering how music venues will operate, say within the 6-12 months immediately after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted? Will there be an occupancy limit? Will there be a higher cover charge to offset lower customer numbers (and to pay the band)? More solo/duo acts and fewer bands? Will they take your temperature at the door? Will tables/occupants have to remain six feet apart? Will folks be allowed to dance? What about the lavatories (thinking of the typical nightclub john...yuck)? Will bouncers now be the social distance police? Just some random thoughts...

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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I think this is going to be based on location. Some areas of the country that have had more widespread infections, hospitalizations and worse are going to be gun shy about larger venues. Even the smaller ones for a while. So officials in your region will make the call about what opens and when, and then players and audiences will make their own call regarding attendance. Online watch parties are a thing now, tip jar by venmo/paypal etc. Sort of the way streaming movies at home killed blockbuster and cut into movie theater and sporting event attendance.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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How about small stages? Musicians must be 6 feet apart on a 10 foot stage. No singing into a mic you dont own and have personally disinfected. No sharing gear or switching off instruments allowed. I think the strict rules will last about a week then people will get militantly anti social distancing.
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Watching the news as I post... in a Georgia restaurant every other table is taped off, servers are handing out disposable menus in masks and gloves...

 

It's gonna be different.

 

Venues with outdoor seating should fare better. Before this all hit I had a steady Saturday lined up this summer in a very nice outdoor plaza as a DJ. It may be the only thing I can realistically do short term, but I'm not confident it will be there either.

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Another interesting dynamic I'm expecting: differences in opinion between band members when it's safe to go back to playing live. I know in my case, I'm reluctant until either there's a vaccine OR some really effective treatments if one falls really ill and there's the hospital beds available to deliver those treatments. I've written off gigging during 2020 at this stage based on that but hope I'm wrong :(
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As Moonglow mentions, I think gigs that involve or support dancing will be the hardest hit. And in general, if crowd size/audience sizes are diminished, then the likely pay we will be offered will be affected. It's a simple equation that we've always lived with - how many people did you draw?

 

Conventions and weddings are going to hurt as well.

 

It's going to be tough for the rest of this year for sure.

 

Jerry

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Most places I've played over the last couple years (my weekend warrior career being at a low ebb while I raise young chilluns) were marginally profitable to begin with. Everything that makes these places safer also makes them less profitable. Reopening in a somewhat safe way assumes a resetting of economic expectations by everyone involved. It's hard to imagine how that's going to happen, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

 

Also typical of the places I play, and that most of us play, is people drinking to the point their judgment is impaired. In good times, that's a sign that your gig is going well. In present times, it's downright scary. Would you go to a knife-throwing party where drinking was encouraged?

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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I've used my own mic for a LONG time now. You can only tolerate so many well beaten SM58's with beer-breath crusts built up in the windscreen and that was a LONG time ago.

 

My primary concern is that this virus spreads successfully through the air. To do that, it has to emerge from an infected person's mouth.

 

People at bars and clubs eat and drink - lots of uncovered mouths in proximity. At this point, that makes me profoundly uncomfortable.

I was in a hardware store today, needed a couple of things. Lots of "macho men" walking around with no gloves or masks.

 

The signs at the door encouraging social distancing were not well adhered to, surprise. The workers wore their PPE, I wore mine. I got in and back out fairly quickly and came straight home to disinfect.

 

Is it Darwin's way of thinning the herd perhaps? Something I would prefer to observe from a considerable distance!!!! Cheers, Kuru

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I'm pretty pessimistic that bands will be playing at all, at most places at least...the ones we tended to play were not high-paying to begin with and margins are always thin for (most) restaurants and bars. There will be plenty of people unwilling to go back out--I'm one, I don't envision going into a restaurant, store, bar, theater etc until there is a vaccine or other effective treatment--so those margins will be even thinner. Going to be a lot of jukebox-playing, maybe solo or duo bookings at most.

 

Medium term, I'm already reconciled to my gigging life to be done for at least a year. I'll be that guy in the band that won't play even if the bar books us and the rest of the band is willing to play. I live with two at-risk people and I'm not going to risk their lives over playing music.

 

I could easily see some benefits pop up, which we have played at before for various causes. Normally I'm all about that but not now.

 

This big re-opening might very well cause a major spike in cases, we shall see in a couple weeks. I've been reading some articles on just how contagious this is, indoors especially. Answer: VERY. One infected person in Wuhan directly infected people at other tables way more than six feet from him. And as mentioned, breathing/singing/shouting/coughing is the main worry.

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Another interesting dynamic I'm expecting: differences in opinion between band members when it's safe to go back to playing live. I know in my case, I'm reluctant until either there's a vaccine OR some really effective treatments if one falls really ill and there's the hospital beds available to deliver those treatments. I've written off gigging during 2020 at this stage based on that but hope I'm wrong :(
Some major acts have already committed to cancelling/rescheduling all of their live performances until 2021. Ben Folds sent out an e-mail to his list to that effect yesterday, and he apparently took his cues from Taylor Swift.

 

Obviously, theaters and arenas are a different animal from bars and clubs, but I'm just trying to prepare myself. Right now, I'm missing playing music with other people more than I'm missing the gigs themselves, but that's based on my personal situation: 90% of my musical endeavors involve people I care about and am close to personally, and my gigging life isn't a major piece of my financial puzzle (though I sure could use the extra cash right now, of course...). I know it's a more trepidatious time for a lot of us, and I don't want to downplay that. Taylor Swift obviously has become wealthy as one of the top pop acts of the last decade; Ben Folds isn't quite at that rung of fame and fortune, but he's well-established and probably still has that Brick money coming in. A lot of bands I love who tour for a living are going to have a much harder time making a call like that.

Samuel B. Lupowitz

Musician. Songwriter. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.

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This will give rise to a new form, called social disdancing.

 

You better copyright that before someone else thinks of it.

 

Thinking my focus over the next year will be solo/duo/trio. Low key, quiet gigs in places that enforce distancing, prohibit dancing, and probably allow quiet percussion at most, no trap sets. That's likely to be my best case pre-vax musical world.

 

I've been playing solo piano gigs for several years, but it's time to up my game and stop sucking. That's going to take focus and practice, lots of it.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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There is two things here that aren't really up to us. If the OK is given in NYS for the clubs to open will people really be willing to crowd around a stage and dance to a band. For a certain part of the crowd maybe but people are so fearful now I think a lot of damage has been done. The other part of it is how many clubs/wineries/venues/bars will fork out money for bands when it's going to take awhile for them to get up an running after the ban has lifted. We make a lot of money at the door in a few clubs but I think that too will change. As soon as the OK is given I will start rehearsals. I don't even remember what the band members look like it's been so long.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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In my area, clubs etc.. are opening at 25% capacity.

My lead singer in the band also does a solo act. He has three shows this weekend. Fri, Sat, and a Sunday brunch show. All three places you had to make a reservation, and they are sold out.

 

Same with some other venues with live bands this weekend. Based on the metrics we keep, and things we are seeing, people want to get out and do things like this

 

As far as my band, our two May shows have been postponed and rescheduled already for later this year. Our next show is scheduled for June 13, and is still a go.

Everyone is onboard to resuming gigs.

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not sure what's going to happen here. There as been minimal impact on our county as the number of cases, and Brevard County Florida is actually quite large. Takes over an hour to drive from southern to northern border on the interstate. Plus, our main hospital system has been very proactive, bringing the needed supplies, PPE, and converting hospital rooms to isolation rooms in advance to the need. And a lot of the venues are outside.

 

But, the more popular venues are very close quarters, no way for the 6-feet rule. Two of the main ones that my bands play have stayed afloat by providing take out food and booze. The one closest to me has been giving out free meals to first responders.

 

As far as am I ready to start back playing, that is a really good question. There are two of us in my household, and BOTH of us are high risk. Cheryl has been battling cancer for 10 years, and I may need heart surgery in the near future. I may have to wait until the vaccine is out and the threat has been effectively neutralized.

 

I will say that I don't know that I will complain again about having too many gigs. Between May and June, I had a couple times where I was double booked, with an early gig, then a few hours later a late gig, in some instances with different bands. I was not really looking forward to those, but now, I would gladly end the day with sore fingertips and lower back.

 

And I am in a similar situation as Samuel. Yes, the extra money is nice, but it was basically paying our fuel costs for the month, and the extra expense of having to bring/buy my lunches. Well. so far we've paid less than $25 this month in gas, and since I'm working from home (which may become permanent) those expenses have dropped dramatically. I'm going to top off both vehicles Thursday, and see if we can go the entire month without getting gas, although at $1.66/gal, it won't take much.

 

And I agree, a very large part of my love of playing is not the gigs, it's playing with friends that challenge me musically.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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^ I'm over in Orlando. The (so far) lack of impact on Florida (other than in the South) is a mystery to me. Considering theme parks were open until mid-march, and all the traffic through the airport, you'd think Central Florida would be a hotspot by now. And I know from having relatives in Brevard (I grew up in Merritt Island) that a lot of people didn't take this seriously until pretty late in the game. My mom's church for example, which is normally packed with mostly-older people...it was still going in mid-March. Not to mention a lot of New Yorkers coming down here to their winter homes to flee what is happening there. An older population in general. Something is odd about it. Not complaining, but no way I would have thought we'd have the low numbers of patients we have (my brother at CC Hospital says there is nothing happening.)

 

Edit: an example just from this past weekend. My wife and I own rental properties and sometimes they need fixes...she went to home depot to pick up something and just decided to go somewhere else or come back later....it was absolutely packed with people.

 

The only gigs I will even consider pre-miracle vaccine will be outdoor ones, and I expect I'll be booted out of the band by the time any of those happen if they are all ready to play and I refuse...so be it.

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After 6 months to a year of no or few gigs, when this is in the rear view, alot of bands will have broken up. Some people who were on the edge of retirement will retire. Some people will have had to sell their axe to get by. And bands will be reforming with new line ups. Alot of formerly locked in gigs will be now up for grabs.
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That's what I wonder about. Will people just give up and say "fu-- it's not worth waiting around for" I could see that. It is competitive around here, bands are almost team sports in smaller markets. I find people are communicating less even as band members. We are at least going to try to release a song. Even musicians aren't really communicating because there isn't really anything to talk about. A few of us happen to be closer than other members. I guess that happens but its just an interesting time now.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I"m riffing here, so see if this holds any ideas for you (and the rest of our industry)...

 

For those of us not in the top 1% of acts, gigging has been getting tougher for the last 20 years.

 

But the coronavirus is going to force just about every single one of our traditional venues to re-think their whole business plan. Restaurants, clubs, theatres, assisted living, casinos, whatever. For the next two years their business models don"t work. Half the number of patrons can"t keep their doors open.

 

Meanwhile, every entertainer, musician, dancer, ventriloquist, comedian, mind reader, etc. is out of work.

 

Can you figure out a way to bring half the number of patrons to a venue (at twice the price) by offering three times the entertainment value?

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Social disdancing, hehe. Great work.

 

Man...I don't know. I live in Central mexico and while, Mexico hasn't been clobbered yet by the virus, we are braced for impact. Still, there is a significant percentage of the population--both Mexicans and ex-pats--who simply haven't been taking social distancing very seriously and it terrifies me. I bet if a club open up right now (it can't because the local gov't shut them down) with a dance band, it would be packed. And we'd see a big spike in infections soon.

 

But up in the states, it's not so wild, wild west. I think we're all going to be out of work in terms of live gigging for the most part. as many others have pointed out, we won't be the only subset of workers affected this way.

 

Has anyone here been making money off of tip jar/online concert stuff?

Doug Robinson

www.dougrobinson.com

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Has anyone here been making money off of tip jar/online concert stuff?

 

I have a couple of friends who do pretty OK with online tippng but I don't see it lasting in it's present form.

When we were gigging steadily, we had gigs up and down Whatcom/Skagit counties.

These clubs all had different clientele, based on walking/driving distance.

 

If you were promoting an online presence before this all hit then you might have a sufficiently diverse group of followers to thrive.

Most people don't go to the same club to hear the same performers 3 nights a week but that is exactly what is on offer with live streaming - except the "club" is your own personal living space.

 

One friend has gone from a peak of about 90 online followers for a live stream down to about 20-ish. He is an excellent singer, a fine strummer and knows over a thousand songs - takes requests.

 

But it doesn't have that drive, that atmosphere. It's great stuff but something is missing.

 

And now we are talking solo artists for the most part. All well and good but it simply is not the same "scene" as going to a club with a dance floor, pretty waitresses bringing your beverages, opportunities to broaden your social interactions, etc.

 

What's next? I am trying to figure that out. I've refrained from starting up a live stream while I re-invent myself. The live stream world does not need another "guy with guitar that knows songs." right now.

I have enough toys to generate a bigger sound, it's a matter of implementation and keeping it interesting. Too easy to "flatline" with loops, delays, etc. Will take some new multi-tasking approach to keep it fun and interesting. Maybe a late show? Maybe just once a week or every 2 weeks but make it compelling enough to generate excitement and keep a solid following?

 

Once the weather gets nicer up here there will be more options. We may even get a few of our annual outdoor gigs, I hope so, those are fun and much safer. We've played the same Harley dealer's summer sales events for a few years now - 2 times per summer minimum. They put up a HUGE stage so the 4 piece can easily maintain 6 feet distance comfortably. A couple of places we play move everything outdoors during summer and often those are duo gigs so space is not a problem there either. Seasonal, fall comes and everything changes. Gonna keep playing no matter what! Cheers, Kuru

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Everything that makes these places safer also makes them less profitable. Reopening in a somewhat safe way assumes a resetting of economic expectations by everyone involved.

Occupancy/capacity limits would seem to be a big one. I'm wondering if charging higher prices for admission, drinks, food, etc., would help offset the costs associated with maintaining a "safe" venue? Of course, this assumes customers will have the discretionary funds available to visit such establishments. Everyone may have to settle for less dough for awhile. Seems a lot of folks will be looking for gigs (e.g., bartenders, waitresses, cooks, musicians) and owners won't want to lose their businesses. Hopefully this will result in everyone willing to "deal" so all involved can find a sustainable balance point.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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This will give rise to a new form, called social disdancing.

 

You better copyright that before someone else thinks of it.

 

.

Yeah. You never know. It might go viral.

when I wrote this I thought to myself, hey that's good, maybe I should copyright it. Then I googled it... too late, about 20,000 other folks thought of it first. Story of my life

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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I think people who believe the economy will come roaring back any time soon are in for a shock. It isn't just that people will be broke, it's also that we are all learning that it is possible to live without slaving at a job we don't love for money to buy crap we don't need. Eating out and movie viewing will survive in some form, but you're right--with reduced numbers of patrons, venue owners are going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. They CAN'T charge more, because consumers don't have it to spend.

Doug Robinson

www.dougrobinson.com

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IMO, the same manner in which life slowed down to a crawl, normalcy will return eventually.

 

Human beings are social creatures by nature. They will not be kept 6 feet apart forever. In time, "social distancing" will be a 2020 buzzword.

 

I believe musicians and bands capable of either reinventing themselves and/or refreshing their deliverables will be fine on the other side of this situation. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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