Normally, this time of year music fans gather in the thousands to partake in the annual ritual of the music festival. They come in all shapes and sizes and span the globe, but this year the echoes of the amplifiers and cheers are muted.
But that’s not stopping some festivals and venues from carrying the torch… virtually. Festivals like Bluesfest Windsor and venues like Windsor’s Rockstar Music Hall and London’s Studio 73 are staging three very different styles of live stream concerts to fill the void.
Bluesfest Windsor wants you to feel the power of music (at home) with a series of weekly concerts performed by some of your favourite local, national and international stars. Dubbed, the Yunity Front Porch Party, the series has been running since May 2 when the series kicked off with an intimate performance from The Trews frontman Colin MacDonald. Since it began, the series has also featured Jeff Martin of Tea Party, Interscope Records artist Billy Raffoul, Jonny Fox of The Standstills, Windsor’s Kelly Authier (aka Kay Oh Chay), Leamington’s Jody Raffoul, Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, Neil Osborne of 54-40, blues master Jack de Keyzer, Todd Kearns of Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, Windsor singers Madeline Doornaert and Dane Roberts, Crissi Cochrane and Mike Hargreaves (Soul Bother Mike) and most recently, Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason. All these past shows can be seen on the Bluesfest Windsor YouTube channel. Upcoming concerts can be viewed live for free on Saturday at 8pm and are scheduled to include – Christine Campbell, Andrew MacLeod & Jake Van Dongen, Darren Dobski, Mark Chichkan and Jeff Martin (The Tea Party).
London’s Studio 73 has launched a Facebook Live series they call Friday Night Live which has featured London artists like Kate Channer, Sarina Haggerty, Jade Bennett, Sarah Smith and Doug Varty. The shows are streamed free on the Studio 73 Facebook page on Friday nights at 9pm. Some upcoming shows include Bayou County, Nimway, Brother Leeds and Renee Coughlin. Artists interested in being part of the Studio 73 concerts should reach out to Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Windsor’s Rockstar Music Hall are hosting a unique ticketed live stream experience using Zoom called the Rockstar Virtual Stage. It’s about as live a musical performance one can get in Windsor during the COVID pandemic. Artists perform on the Rockstar stage on Friday and Saturday nights with a wall of monitors in front of them showing their Zoom audience interacting in real time as they perform.
The series kicked off in July with a theatrical performance about local hauntings from local actors Rob Tymec and Eric Branget. Since that show several acts have appeared including local favourites Leave Those Kids Alone, Madelyn Stein, 80s Gone Wild, Jody Raffoul, Sarah Smith, Ignore The Evidence, Fire and others. Upcoming shows include Twisted Sisters, Border City Dance Company, Retrospect, Devilz By Definition, Among The Rest, Stay At Home Dads, Universe featuring Ray, The 519 Band, The Blues Side, Jody Raffoul and Van Lares. Advance tickets are suggested for these events.
It may appear like the coming of COVID-19 was the day the music died, but thanks to great 519 venues and festivals like Bluesfest Windsor, Studio 73 and Rockstar Music Hall, the music will live on.