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Local musicians take a hit amid the pandemic

Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 8:55 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) -Local musicians like Will Thompson are finding creative ways to reach audiences and make an income amid the pandemic.

“We stared something called rock the dock, which we play out to boats where they can social distance themselves,” Thompson said.

There was a small period of time when bars were open, but Friday’s emergency order, which stated establishments where at least 50% of sales come from alcohol must shut down on-premise consumption, resulted in bars canceling performances again.

“A lot of tough calls, we had to cancel all of our live music, all of our DJs and most of them are local, so we are putting local people out of business or out of a job,” Director of Operations at Ms. Newby’s Liquors, Lindsey Pickenpaugh said.

Since the pandemic, Thompson says he’s had about 75 to 80 gigs canceled.

“If you take 75 digs, you’re probably talking about $30,000, that’s a pretty significant amount of income, and I know other musicians are like that as well who perform four to five times a week,” Thompson said.

Echoing what other musicians in the area have felt during this time.

“It hurt pretty bad because I was actually about to get into a lot of my seasonal stuff and I missed out on probably about a month and a half to two months of work,” local musician Jeffery Bouet said.

Both artists say the work is beginning to pick back up, but it’ still been a challenge. It’s not just performances at bars that are getting cancelled, weddings and summer concert series among other performance opportunities have been called off.

“Not knowing is probably the scariest thing for musicians. Not knowing how to or when they will play again,” Thompson said.

With bars shutting back down, local musicians will either have to find outside venues that are open to play at or stream online and hope tips will work as income.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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