With the aggressive transmission of the novel coronavirus worldwide, so too, have been the responses by various levels of leadership. Just last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom set guidelines to discourage gatherings of more than 250 people and encouraging 6 feet of social distancing for events under that threshold. As other cities and states set their own mandates, on Sunday he modified his own directive to include the closure of all bars, nightclubs, brewpubs and wineries. On Monday, Pres. Donald Trump issued federal guidelines (for a minimum of 15 days) that no more than 10 people should gather. The moves are necessary for the health of our community, of course, but they are having a huge impact on on the local nightlife and live music communities.
Enter Tristan Faulk-Webster, local musician, artist, and partner at Aztec Brewing Company in Vista, California. Aztec is currently staying open for to-go beer sales and brewery operations, so he sent a message via Facebook soliciting bands who would want to play Aztec for live-streaming shows. The responses have swelled since the Sunday post.
“We're able to sell bottles and kegs and growlers-fills to-go to the general public,' Faulk-Webster said on Monday by phone. "As far as the bands, it will just be them and like two or three extra people, so we'll be well within the [10 person] guideline.”
Music. Community. Culture.
While the idea is rewarding for Faulk-Webster, it is time-consuming.
“A lot of today has just been a lot of time on the phone, talking to everyone and seeing when they're available," Faulk-Webster said. "I've had a huge outpouring of interest.”
Faulk-Webster said most of this week is booked with performers, starting with Hailey Wild, who will perform at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, with new artist announcements each morning via the Aztec Brewing Facebook page. Aztec has a PayPal account where viewers can donate, which will also display tipping options for the performers while they play.
Is Faulk-Webster worried that Aztec will be deemed non-essential and have to close?
“I've been getting different messages, but for now I'm sticking to the plan we have in place until we get official word that we can't," Faulk-Webster said. "It would be really tight, but once we got going again I think things would go back to normal. We're not a huge operation, so that gives us a certain degree of flexibility.”
As local, state and federal guidelines are rapidly changing, perhaps live music, from the comfort of our homes, is the new normal, at least for now.