Keeping Musicians Going During the Pandemic

(re-run)

I am a dancer, a singer, and a music lover. When all the summer outdoor concerts were canceled in 2020, I grieved for weeks.  Then I decided that my goal during the pandemic would be to fund the musicians, so that they wouldn’t quit playing and get a real job.

Many musicians quickly learned how to livestream on Facebook. They set up their virtual tip jars. Some perform weekly. Some perform haphazardly. Whenever it comes up on Facebook, I always click the “interested” box so that I will get a reminder right before the show.

I am an outdoor person, so I often miss the live shows since some ar e in the middle of the day. But no worries. I can always watch the video and donate later.

The Veranda is a local shopping center with live music every Wednesday at 6:00 pm. If it’s raining, the musicians perform from their living rooms. If it’s nice out and the restaurants can sell food, the musicans actually set up their instruments outside at the shopping center and get some in-person people as an audience, in additon to those of us online.

I’ve given musicians close to $2000 in the past year, according to Paypal. Some of that money was my monthly Netflix payment, so we can deduct $156.00.  Still, that’s pretty good. If it’s a couple performing (husband and wife situation) I usually give $20.00 if I watch the whole thing. If it’s a singleton, I give $10.00. I used to give a whole band $5.00 when I was there in person.

I know not everyone can afford to do this. I am lukcy in that I am retired and know my budget.  The way I look at it is that I’m not driving to a venue and not buying overpriced food and soda (or pop, as Midwesterners call it). So, the money that I would’ve spent for a free outdoor concert now goes to the musicians.

Having this virtual interaction with people has kept me sane during the past 11 months. Of cours e it’s not the same, but boo hoo. W e knew tha t going into this.  Nothing is the same, and that’s the point of trying to keep one little thing as close to the same as possible. Musicians need to play, I need to listen, and the money is a secondary thing.

I’m not trying to brag because honestly, I had no idea I’d paid that much until Paypal told me.  I didn’t shop much in 2020, didn’t go to many restaurants in 2020, didn’t celebrate birthdays out, so look at all the money I saved this year!

Some musicians have a Paypal account, a Venmo account, and a snail mail address. That way they can get money from anyone and everyone. Others only use Venmo, and unfortunately, they don’t get any money from me , because I don’t do Venmo.

I didn’t realize that my payments were coming from the name of my business, so it was confusing for some musicians, not realizing it was me. I also bought a calendar from an artist that way, and when I contacted him to let him know that I never received it, we had to clear up that confusion.

I also bought some shirts on Facebook, which were nothing like the photos. I don’t recommend doing that. The textured-looking shirts turned out to be 100% polyester, which I will never wear.

I should’ve returned them, but I was too busy listening to my favorite musicians.

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