We have all learned a lot of lessons throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The greatest lesson, hopefully, is how much we as humans truly do need one another. In the last issue I wrote about how hopeful I was for the resurgence of music in the Boro. I envisioned “The Eagle’s Flight” downtown as patrons made their way from Sugar Magnolia to Eagle Creek Brewery for a drink before migrating westward to Tandor & Tap before strolling down to West Main for a final stop at Bull & Barrel before heading home. All the while, they’d be able to enjoy some of the best music Southeast Georgia has to offer. Perhaps they’d start with a show at the Averitt Center before hitting one of the downtown venues for dessert and a drink or coffee. I envisioned the nightlife springing up in the new Tormenta Stadium area with stadium shows and festivals, and The Blue Room, as ever, bringing in regionally- and nationally-known acts. The crowds and the energy of great food and music combine to bring ever more exciting things to our beautiful city.
I still hold hope for that...and soon. One of the very first industries hit by this crisis was live music. No crowds meant no bars. No bars meant no music. No music meant we were all left floundering trying to figure out how to make it work. If any of us had forgotten, we were quickly reminded that we need our fans. Our fans have begun reaching out to let us know that they need us, too.
We miss you. Sure, some of us have found ways to make music while we are being extra cautious. Remote streaming hasn’t quite caught up to what we need for rehearsals and live shows from separate locales, but smaller groups and duos are coming together in what feels like musically monogamous commitments. We will only play with one another, so we will be safe. Some folks are posting “social distance jams” where musicians posted 6 feet apart are live streaming jam sessions.
Even through all of this, the fans have been faithful to watch videos and leave tips when they can. As a performer, it means the world to know that you’re still out there listening and supporting. We need this, not only for our wallets, but for our souls. As much as you need music, we need to make and share it.
Despite all of the back and forth partisanship and fights on social media over who’s right and who’s wrong and what the safest options are, there are still a few things I know to be true.
We all still need one another. It’s so important to stay connected. Until we can be face to face again, let’s stay connected online.
Artists still need you. Many of us have been able to continue to earn income with “day jobs” which allow us to work from home. If that’s you, support your local artists as much as you can by sharing their music online, leaving them some tips for their virtual gigs.
The arts still need you. Don’t forget about our own local arts center. The Averitt Center depends on memberships and sponsorships, but the majority of their income is from ticket sales. Even when things begin to go back to normal, the restrictions that will be in place will nearly cut their ticket sales in half. We can all help by becoming members, sponsors, and donors. If you can help, please do because organizations like this one keep the arts alive and help young people hone their skill in ways that schools never could.
We WILL find a way. The human race is nothing if not tenacious. We all need connection, and we thrive in community. We will find a way, soon enough, to be together again and when we do...you can bet it’s gonna be one heck of a party.
Until that time, remember that we — the musicians, actors, performers and artists — miss you, too. We want to hear from you. What songs do you want to hear when you see us at our next gig? How have you been? What do you miss about seeing shows? Take a moment and connect with your favorite band or artists on the web and tell them how much you appreciate them, because we know you miss enjoying live music with your friends and the performers. And we miss you, too.