By Shannon Ireland
This article title is not meant to compare to the meaning of Don McLean’s song American Pie, referring to the loss of some iconic musicians. However, there is something happening here, and it is affecting our local music scene. There is no denying that what is going on in the world today has directly affected many industries, some more than others. The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down virtually every industry except grocery stores. The dine-in restaurants that can be open for delivery or takeout, have still been mostly operating at a loss. Bars, rentals, retail, beaches and a lot of what Florida is loved for have been closed. (Although at the time of this writing some, like the beaches and retail, are reopening or determining strategies for opening.
Let’s’ talk about the music and the day it died…again. The musicians in this area make the vast majority of their money during spring break and in the summer. Yes, there are off season gigs, but they are few and far between. Normally, during the off season, the musicians master their art, write songs, collaborate with others, and pick up any gig they can. Most of them are smart about saving during the busy season to make it through the off season.
I have seen on social networks, people making comments to the musicians such as “well I guess they will need to go out and get a real job now.” Those folks have no clue. First of all, the majority of the local musicians already supplement their incomes with “real jobs.” The lucky ones are working in the music business while also performing when they can.
Secondly, the musicians aren’t striking it rich out there. They are not doing it for the money, but to support the passion they have for music, and entertaining all of us.
Today is the day the music died, again. We are all on the struggle bus, together here. Here’s a solution for those of you that want to help out. Most people are still working from home, or are at home and out of work for now. Let’s all make that extra effort on social networks to watch our favorite musicians and their live feeds performing. SHARE those feeds live, ENCOURAGE your friends to share it too! Let’s have as many people as we can blast this out everywhere as it happens. Most of the live feeds I see are on Facebook, simply click share. The single most helpful thing you can do is tip these musicians online. It is easy; they usually have a sign or a link to click connecting to their funding source such as Venmo or PayPal. If you are unable to chip in financially, Share, Share and Share some more!!
We can all help to bring the music back to life! When everything is back to normal, and it will be, I hope to help these extremely talented and dedicated musicians be able to jump back in and do what they do best. Create, perform and entertain.
Shannon Ireland is co-founder of 30A Songwriter Radio Music & Coffee in Santa Rosa Beach.