For months the live music scene has been dormant due to the coronavirus. Bands have canceled tours and bars have been closed so local bands haven’t been able to perform either.
Well, good news is on the horizon for local bands as bars and live music venues are starting to reopen.
It all kicked off in Ohio last weekend where venues were permitted to start hosting live music as long as they adhered to social distancing guidelines and restrictions. While this presents an atmosphere that is somewhat different from the vibrant dance floors and sweaty mosh pits of yesterday, musicians and business owners are happy to be taking a step forward.
Downtown Warren’s Speakeasy Lounge in Warren, OH was among the first clubs to reopen. They kicked things off on Friday with live performances by Pink Moon and Pam Schofer who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Tony.
In reopening, the bar must follow social distancing rules that apply to patrons, bands, and even band mates must stand six feet from each other when performing. Only parties that arrive together can sit together and tables are spaced six inches from each other.
Although the ‘new normal’ music scene is different from what people are used to, overall, things went well. Schofer had this to say “The first weekend went really well,” she said. “We did a dry run on Thursday, just for friends and family, and did see some things we needed to tweak. But everyone complied and did a wonderful job.”
Moving forward, the venue has decided to take it slow. Usually featuring live music at least two nights a week, they are cutting it back to just one. “We’ll probably cut back to just one until will get our feet back under us and know what to expect,” says Schofer.
The Speakeasy isn’t the only Ohio club to reopen. Homestead Kitchen & Cocktails in Columbiana also reopened last weekend with a performance by singer/guitar player Steve Vuich. Vuich had been active on the live music scene working five nights a week hosting open mics, playing solo gigs and playing with his full band The River Saints.
Since the pandemic, Vuich has taken to livestreaming but he was happy to finally be back in front of crowds. He started off playing his gig in a mask but felt so safe with the cleanliness guidelines Homestead put in place that he eventually took it off. He realized that the audience was going to stay far away so it wasn’t necessary.
Another show in the state included a driveway show. The promoters put X’s in the yard so people knew how far away to stand from one another to maintain proper social distancing protocol.
It is terrific to see musicians and venues working together to reopen the right way. Let’s keep the trend going to keep the music industry alive and while keeping our communities safe.