TO PUT IT mildly, the spring live music scene is going to be a little lacking. And by lacking, we mean completely non-existent as everything from the corner bar’s karaoke night to South by Southwest have been completely canceled, leaving live music fans, musicians, and workers with a giant, gaping void.
To fill that void, a number of musicians have begun live-streaming “concerts,” some from webcams in their living rooms. Others from empty venues, like a rock and roll version of the Champions League. Of course, unlike empty-stadium soccer it’s sometimes hard to know where, exactly, to catch bands’ stay-at-home shows. So the online rights organization Fight for the Future has put together a calendar to find it all.
Welcome to Stay at Home Fest, an events calendar listing of online musical performances described by Deputy Director Evan Greer as “a local weekly paper, for the whole world.” She and her team have scoured the internet looking for virtual shows and loaded them onto the calendar, listing everything from Dropkick Murphys’ Streaming up from Boston show to the Met’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
It’s not just big acts listed on the calendar either. Greer says the organization’s main goal is to give struggling artists an outlet to promote their shows, and hopefully a source of income.
“I had a show cancel, and I had the same thing happen to a couple of my friends, and we were starting to feel the cabin fever ourselves,” the Boston-area musician says. “We’ve got all these artists sitting at home after their tours had been canceled, and needed a place to find an audience and a way to make money.”
That’s not to say all the shows on Stay at Home Fest’s calendar are pay only. Currently, most of the gigs listed are free to stream, but since bands will be losing live performance revenue, pay streams will be a way to support the artists.
“(Events) could be ticketed, or they could be a pay-what-you-can-at-the-door kinda thing,” Greer says. “Like play for free and throw up your Venmo or whatever.”
The site’s main page has a place where artists can fill out information to list their shows, as well as a calendar for viewers to peruse what’s playing. Right now, the calendar is pretty easy to navigate, but as more artists sign up Greer admits it may get cluttered. She says it will soon have tools to search by genre and other categories, so you can find whatever kind of performance you’re feeling that day.
The site is also planning a major festival in April featuring “bigger name artists,” not only to promote the site but also to help the event workers and musicians who have been affected by closures. The show will be a little like an online Live Aid, with performances from around the world happening simultaneously. No word on who the acts might be, but it may be worth checking out the site to see if that’s updated.
So if you’re sitting at home longing for the ear-ringing and sticky floors of a live show, all is not lost. While you might not get to have the communal experience of a concert, you can at least listen to bands play live in the comfort of your own home. And when those bands hit the road again — hopefully soon — you may even discover some new acts you’d like to go out and see.