Musicians in pandemic
Despite the virus' threat, you can still interact with your favorite musicians — in a socially distant and safe way. (Illustration by Drew Parrott, Oswego University)

How Are Musicians Dealing With the Pandemic?

Events that are months away are being canceled because of COVID-19, but many artists are stepping up to give fans something in return.

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Musicians in pandemic

Events that are months away are being canceled because of COVID-19, but many artists are stepping up to give fans something in return.

The fate of many concerts and festivals are uncertain right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, shows are being rescheduled or even canceled. This is leading to a lot of disappointment for fans, who have been looking forward to and planning to see their favorite musicians for months and maybe even years.

The norm has shifted, and everyone is trying to adjust and hoping their plans won’t be ruined. In California, Coachella was forced to move from its two weekends in April to a couple weekends in October, with the hopes that large crowds will be able to gather by then.

England’s Glastonbury festival is one of the biggest and most anticipated events of the year, but much to the disappointment of hundreds of thousands of would-be attendees, it was canceled altogether.

These are just two instances of the numerous events that have had to adjust to something we’ve never experienced. We don’t know what to expect, so we have to take it day-by-day and see when restrictions let up.

Upsetting? Definitely. It’s not a total loss, though. At a time when there seems to be no end in sight for social distancing orders, musicians are stepping up to entertain and interact with people online.

Many musicians have turned to social media platforms to put on a show. These streams include the musicians interacting with their fans, performing full sets and even using the streams as an opportunity to raise money to support musicians or organizations who need it.

No matter what the intent of the stream happens to be, musicians are taking this opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

Artists Everywhere Are Stepping Up

Many smaller bands rely on live shows and performances to stay relevant and to get their names out there, so the fact that they may not know when their next show is can be a big problem for them. Touring and selling merchandise can be a big chunk of their income, and when everything is canceled, it can present trouble. Luckily, social media is here to save the day.

Many of these bands have begun streaming performances to gather donations, if need be. It’s also a great way for their shows to be shared across various platforms so they can continue to grow their fanbase, or even just connect with those who are also stuck inside.

The smaller audience during a livestream gives the artists a chance to interact on a more personal level, something they would never get to do during a live show. Streaming platforms often have a chat feature, so viewers can send in comments in real time, and the artists may even respond to them. This creates a one-of-a-kind experience, depending on what they may see or hear from viewers during the stream.

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The touring lifestyle doesn’t always allow for face to face conversations with our musician friends. Occasionally we’re fortunate enough to share a festival stage and inspire each other with performances, but mostly we reach out to connect with one another from distant places, for stories, laughter and often advice. Whether you’re new to a band, a studio musician or a touring veteran, there’s always opportunities to share and learn more from the network of people we know and love.⁣ ⁣ Please join our incredible drummer @jasonmcgerr for a live drum lesson and discussion with @tylersmashes from @theheadandtheheart tomorrow March 31 at 5pm PT / 7pm CT. Tune in via link in bio!

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The interaction is also a fun thing for both bands and fans. Meeting your favorite musician can cost a lot of money or require a lot of luck, and though it may not be ideal, you now have the opportunity to chat with the artists.

Some more well-known names understand that this is a difficult time for fans, and they’re taking their time to give back to the people who have gotten them to where they are now. Some are taking the opportunity to fundraise through their livestreams and donate the proceeds to a worthy cause, and others are simply trying to bring some happiness and entertainment to their fans.

These bigger musicians may not rely as much on live shows as much as lesser-known bands, but they probably still thrive off their performances and miss that energy.

No matter what you’re looking for, there’s sure to be a stream out there for you to enjoy.

Some artists have taken livestreaming to the next level. For example, Phish has been streaming archived video footage and providing recipes for viewers to make while they watch the show. They’re calling this “Dinner and a Movie.” They’re also selecting a nonprofit organization that is helping others during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Next week’s installment of Dinner And A Movie features Phish’s July 27, 2014 show from Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. The full show will play for free this Tuesday at 8:30PM ET at webcast.livephish.com or Phish’s Facebook page. The recipe for the dinner part of the evening is from Mike Gordon. He’s sharing recipes for two small plates from @henofthewood, one of his favorite restaurants in Burlington, VT. The recipes below are from our friend and owner, chef Eric Warnstedt. As a reminder, please don’t feel the need to take a special trip to buy groceries to make this, and be smart regarding social distancing and staying at home. Feel free to post photos of your version of this dish, or share whatever you’re making. Tag us at #phishdinnerandamovie We have selected Meals On Wheels as our beneficiary for this webcast. All donations made via The WaterWheel Foundation that day will be given to that organization. You can donate any time at phish.com/waterwheel. Vulnerable seniors are at the greatest risk amid COVID-19. Local Meals on Wheels programs are on the front lines every day, focused on keeping older Americans safe and nourished in communities across the country. For more information about Meals On Wheels, visit http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org. Hen Of The Wood Mushroom Toast Serves 4 Ingredients 1/4lb of your favorite mushrooms (we love wild Hen of the Woods. Cultivated Hens also are called Maitake) 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves minced garlic 1 shallot, diced 1 tablespoon of finely chopped flat leaf parsley 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar 4 slices of your favorite bread (1/2″ slices) 1 tablespoon olive oil salt and pepper to taste 4 poached eggs (optional for on top, but Mike Says No) Instructions Turn on your broiler Brush the bread slices with good olive oil and salt/pepper Link in profile for complete instructions and second recipe. 7/27/14 📸 by Dave Vann.

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Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab for Cutie, began a weekly series called “Live From Home.” He will be performing live music from home over the next few weeks, and he also released a limited-edition poster. The poster is a print commemorating the livestream sessions, and its proceeds will benefit Aurora Commons.

In a letter posted to the Death Cab for Cutie Twitter account, Gibbard wrote to followers: “I know you are all really freaked out right now. I am too. And while I’m proud that we’re all doing the necessary things at the moment to help flatten the curve, I know it has left us all incredibly isolated.”

These are just a couple of examples of people trying to help others feel less alone while being forced to practice social distancing. There’s plenty more out there, and some are even being urged to start streaming.

Take Advantage of This Limited Opportunity

Though it’s never fun to have events canceled, supporters and artists alike are getting a rare chance to connect. Keep up with your favorite musicians on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and their other accounts. New streams are being announced every day, and some even hop on as a surprise. They are streaming unseen, live concerts and releasing limited-edition videos. This is giving artists and fans a chance to show their appreciation to one another in a new way.

Without the current situation forcing people to compromise and get creative, who knows if musicians would have done this otherwise? It’s bringing a lot of light into a dark time for a lot of people.

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