“San Diego live music is not canceled,” begins the announcement for #BandTogether, referencing the closures prompted by coronavirus pandemic. “It is living in the virtual world! Luckily, we can still spread live music and the love from the safety of our homes!”
Over the past few weeks, we've been sharing local efforts to move live music online. Several artists have shared live shows via Facebook, Instagram Live, and other channels, but we're starting to see the movement toward Twitch.
Long the preferred streaming site for live-gamers, interest in Twitch seems to have recently spiked among circles of local musicians in light of stay-at-home orders. Twitch offers clear monetization and interactivity that can otherwise be more complicated on other platforms. Some of us (me!) were slow on the uptake, but TwitchCon happens biannually right here in San Diego in the fall and in Amsterdam in the spring. Last year's event at the San Diego Convention Center drew more than 28, 000 attendees and featured massive concert events, with artists including Lil Nas X, Blink-182, Steve Aoki, and T-Pain performing, and also showcased artists at venues like The Holding Company and Kava Lounge,
#BandTogether has drawn together a bevy of local sponsors and partners, including Garage Majal, Amplified Aleworks, the Same Same but Different festival, the Belly Up and Music Box, and is “a livestream virtual fundraiser that will run during the month of April.” Fans can directly support the musicians performing and chat with other viewers as it's happening.
The streams kicked off Wednesday night with Shane Hall's full band performing on a real stage with amazing lighting, with about 100 viewers tuning in to the live performance for the duration of the show.
For anyone concerned about the live setup, rest easy: “Given the situation, safety is a No. 1 concern for all involved," states a message on BandTogether's splash page. "The crew working on the show is very small and wearing protective gear/masks. All mic stands and instruments are wiped down and sanitized before and after shows. Performers maintain safe distances during load-in and performances. No outside guests are allowed at the studio. We hope we can provide entertainment and a good reason for you to stay home.”
Unfortunately, Thursday night's show with Band of Gringos was canceled due to “unforeseen technical difficulties.” Judging by that first stream, however, BandTogether has the potential to gain momentum -- especially with San Diego standouts Vokab Kompany performing on Friday night -- and help us get us through these times of quarantine.
April 3: Vokab Kompany
April 4: Kimmi Bitter
April 5: The Strawberry Moons
April 6: Low Volts
April 7: Mrs. Henry