'This is our community': Musicians and audiences connect virtually during pandemic
Venues may be closed due to the coronavirus, but there is still a lot happening virtually in the music scene.
Locally, Town Hall Seattle and Earshot Jazz are livestreaming a weekly series on Saturdays featuring local artists. Cafe Racer also has taken its more avant garde improvisational sessions onto the Zoom videoconferencing platform. Jazz fans can even watch a virtual festival through April 7 that benefits New York musicians.
Musicians have been circulating virtual concerts since the early days of social distancing last month. But as worries over COVID-19 grow and restrictions become stricter, the process has evolved, says KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson, who hosts The New Cool on Saturdays.
"When the quarantine began, there were a lot of artists saying 'Hey let's put our band in a room or maybe even at a club, and we'll just livestream that to our fans,'" Beeson said. "As the pandemic has gone on, artists are thinking more and more seriously about whether that's even a good idea to bring even a band together."
Despite the challenges, Beeson says this kind of creativity is important. Many of these streams provide ways for viewers to compensate the artists, helping to make up for lost revenue from canceled gigs.
"For the musicians and their audience, people like me, this is our community," Beeson said. "So it's really important for us to find some way to stay connected too."