If you would have asked me a month ago if I would be watching live music on my laptop while sitting on my couch, I would have thought you were crazy. Well, welcome to our new world of “social distancing”!
I don’t have to tell anyone reading this about Covid-19 and the effect it is having on our daily lives. This post is not about the virus. I am not a medical expert and would never pretend to be one. I can’t tell you when social distancing will end and when we will go back to normal (and if someone claims they can, they are lying to you).
But, I can give you some tips for how to adjust to our new “temporary” normal. When your life is full of social activities like concerts, travel, food and drink, how do you adapt to social distancing?
The new way of watching live music – from your couch! We caught Scott Terry of Red Wanting Blue the other night.
And when your blog is about social activities like concerts, travel, food and drink, what do you write about?
Everyone – including me – is trying to figure that out right. For now, I thought I would share with you some tips I’ve discovered over the last couple of days that have helped me get through. Keep reading!
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SOCIAL DISTANCING CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC!
The last live show I went to was about a week ago – March 12th. I went to see William Wild and City of the Sun at World Cafe Live in Philly. You can read about that show here.
Social distancing was just creeping into our vocabulary by then, and shows were starting to get cancelled. The city of Philadelphia had banned all gatherings over 1,000 people by then. Since this was a small show, it fell under that criteria, so the show went on. But when William Wild took the stage and announced this was the first and last show of their planned tour, it became clear that this was also the last live show for any of us for awhile.
The next couple of days were hard. Shows that I had really been looking forward to started getting cancelled one by one – Blue October, Lake Street Dive. Just one week later, the fate of the May shows that I have on my calendar are also starting to feel in jeopardy.
I’m so glad I just saw Blue October in December. I was hoping to see them again in April, but it looks like my next Blue October show is going to have to wait.
So what does a live music fan do?
LIVE – FROM MY HOUSE TO YOUR HOUSE!
Most artists rely on live shows. In today’s music world, it’s how they make their money. It’s the way they get their music out to the world. And, it’s where they sell merchandise.
It’s also the best way for them to connect with their fans. And in this new world of social distancing, that has temporarily been taken away from them.
While some people may find Facebook and other social media mediums a necessary evil, they are a life saver right now. If you have a smart phone, you can go live on Facebook and Instagram and share your music with the world, which is what lots of artists are now doing.
I’ve already tuned into a couple of these live streams. Of course it’s not the same as being at a live show in person. But I’ve found these really fun! If you really want to get to know an artist, tune into their live feeds. It’s basically like they are talking to you one on one and playing you a private show.
One of the best live streams I’ve seen over the last few days was from Adam Weiner and Low Cut Connie. Want a laugh? Tune in to their next stream!
SO WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
The music industry as a whole is going to suffer. No, I’m not worried about the Rolling Stones paying their bills, even though their tour is postponed. But I am worried about their road crew and all of the hundreds of people that would have been employed by their tour. So what do we do?
Tip #1: Give your favorite artists some love on social media. All of these social media platforms are built on algorithms. The more traffic they get, the more their posts appear in people’s feed. So, retweet, share, like, etc.!
Tip #2: Tip the artist if you can. Many artists are setting up virtual tip jars during their live streams. If you have the funds, consider giving them a tip to help them pay their bills.
Tip #3: Social distancing is going to particularly hit small, independent music venues. If you are like me, you LOVE seeing shows at these small venues. All of them have had to send home their staff, who are no longer getting a paycheck. A couple of small venues near me have set up emergency funds for their staff. Please check out your favorite small venue’s website for more info.
We saw our last show at World Cafe Live, which is one of those independent venues that will be hit hard by this. They have set up a fund to help their employees. Click here to learn more.
Tip #4: If you are an artist reading this, please do yourself a favor and create an event page for your live stream on Facebook. There is so much out there right now – which is great – that it is hard to keep track of. For me personally, I want to be able to RSVP to your event – just like it was a live show – and have a reminder come up for me on my Facebook calendar.
SUPPORTING WINERIES AND BREWERIES DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING!
Drinking, in general, is typically a social experience – whether at your favorite bar or restaurant, or your favorite winery or brewery. But with social distancing in place, wineries and breweries in most places have had to shut down their tasting rooms and tap rooms.
Tasting rooms have had to close to help minimize people’s exposure. Going to a winery and tasting new wine is one of my favorite hobbies, but it’s on hold right now.
So how do we still support our local winemakers and brewers?
I’LL TAKE THAT WINE/BEER TO GO!
Here in Pennsylvania – and most states have followed suit – the governor has asked that all non-essential businesses shut down. He has also asked that all restaurants stop serving inside. This also applies to wineries that have tasting rooms and breweries that have taprooms.
In an effort to continue to get their products out there, continue to keep some of their employees working, and continue to serve their customers, many small wineries and breweries have turned to take-out only. You can still buy your favorite bottle of wine or get your favorite craft beer in a growler – it just has to be to go!
SO WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
First of all, put down that 12 pack of PBR that you were going to buy from your local super market. The super market is doing fine selling food (and toilet paper) and PBR will survive. Go buy local!
Tip #5: Check with your local winery or brewery to see if they have take out available. Be sure to check their website or social media for details. In many cases, they are asking you to order and pay ahead, and they will deliver to your car. This helps both them and you practice safe social distancing, while still getting you the product.
Tip #6: Buy a gift card. Don’t need more beer and wine now? Buy a gift card for a future purchase. Buying a gift card now puts much needed cash into their business, and gives you a day or night out at your favorite place when this is all over, that you’ve already paid for!
Buy a gift card and be ready to go visit your favorite local winery or brewery when they are able to open back up for business!
Tip #7: Share, share, share on social media. Just like with musicians, the more you share the more it helps their business. Even if you don’t need a growler of beer, maybe one of your friends does and didn’t realize your favorite brewery was doing take out.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AT A RESTAURANT???
Guess what? There is no way to practice social distancing at a restaurant. Even if the tables are spread apart, you are touching so many things that others have touched – tables, door handles, menus, salt shakers. So, no matter how safe a restaurant’s normal procedures are, it’s just not safe for them to be open right now.
And again, I think Outback Steakhouse will be hurting, but they will survive. Their servers, cooks and bartenders? They are going to struggle. And your local neighborhood restaurant? They may or may not come out of this ok.
So what do you do?
CURBSIDE DELIVERY JUST GOT SUPER POPULAR!
Just like wineries and breweries, most restaurants have turned to take out and delivery. Again, it allows them to keep some of their staff employed and gives them at least a little cash flow. It also helps keep all of us that are stuck in our houses a little sane. Sometimes nothing helps us feel better than eating our favorite sandwich from our local deli.
SO WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
I’ll start out with the same advice that I gave you for wineries and breweries. If you are getting ready to order take out from a big national chain restaurant, please consider switching to a local restaurant. I’m not saying that the employees of the big chains aren’t also hurting. Hopefully those large chains are either taking care of those people, or the employees themselves are able to file for unemployment.
But, if we don’t help our small, local restaurants get through this, they may not be able to open their doors again when this is all over.
As someone who eats out a lot, I’m definitely going to miss meals from my favorite restaurants (even though my husband is a fantastic cook)!
Tip #8: Order take out or delivery. A lot of restaurants have switched to a take out or delivery model. Check your favorite restaurant’s website or social media to see if this is an option and how it works. Again, they may ask you to order and pay in advance, and they will deliver it to your car. Some places are still allowing customers to come inside to pick up.
Tip #9: Consider having date night. If you are like us, we almost always go out to dinner on Friday and Saturday night. With social distancing in place, we can’t do that this weekend. But, we can have date night at home. We can order from a local restaurant, open a good bottle of wine, and pretend like we are out at our favorite restaurant. Not only will it support a local business, but it will bring a little bit of normalcy to our life and separate our work week from our weekend.
Tip #10: Buy a gift card. If you aren’t comfortable going out or getting delivery, buy a gift card that you can use later. Most restaurants have a way to buy gift cards on line. One of my favorite restaurants – Brauhaus Schmitz – is taking 100% of the proceeds they get from any gift cards they sell and giving it to their employees that have been displaced.
POSTPONE – DON’T CANCEL!
This is a particularly tough time for the travel industry. Travel has pretty much ground to a complete halt. I am not a travel expert, and in times like these, I won’t even attempt to give you advice on how to handle upcoming travel.
But I will give you one piece of advice that comes directly from a very good friend of mine who is an expert in the travel industry – if at all possible, postpone that trip, don’t cancel! The travel industry is going to need us when this all gets back to normal. Countries that rely on tourism will be devastated by this. Push that trip out to the fall or next year, but take that trip!
Countries like Jamaica, which rely so much on tourism, will be devastated by this. Please try and take that trip as soon as things are back to normal!
This is a tough time for everyone. But it is temporary. Things will go back to normal. And when they do, I hope you’ll join me to be out and about as much as possible! Hang in there! We’ve got this!
How are you holding up during this? What are you doing to get through? Let us know! Comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com.
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