Please support the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s COVID-19 coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at gazettenet.com because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate.

Thank you for your support of the Gazette.

Michael Moses, Publisher


Sounds Local: Support your local artists

  • Home Body. Contributed photo/Anja Schutz

  • Seth Glier. Contributed photo

For Hampshire Life
Published: 3/20/2020 12:03:43 PM
Modified: 3/20/2020 12:03:31 PM

As I write this, live music as we know and love is not happening. From major festivals like Coachella and SXSW to small coffeehouses at local churches, shows are being postponed or outright canceled due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. By last Saturday, about every local venue had gone dark with the Shea Theater, Signature Sounds Presents, Hawks and Reed and others closing their doors with plans to reevaluate the situation in a few weeks.

It’s clear there was no other option, as everyone’s health and safety comes first. However, the financial impact is a tough one for venue owners, musicians and all those that work behind the scenes in the music industry.

We have quite a few musicians in our local music community for whom music is a full-time job. Singer-songwriter Seth Glier of Holyoke is one of these and estimates that 90% of his and other musicians’ income is earned on the road.

“Ticket sales stopped about three weeks ago. We would advance shows and the tickets wouldn’t move,” he said in a recent phone conversation.

Around the same time, Greenfield residents Eric Hnatow and Haley Morgan, who make up the electric fever-pop duo Home Body, started noticing the same shift as they were in the midst of a major cross country tour.

“This tour started out strong with packed venues in places like Harrisburg and Athens, but once we were almost one-third of the way through our nine-week coast to coast tour, things started to disintegrate,” wrote Morgan. “Suddenly, only a handful of people were coming to big shows we had booked in places like Nashville and St Louis, where we have strong followings and the promoters had originally expected to sell out. People just stopped coming out.”

The couple initially thought they could forge on and thought their music might even help people during these difficult times, but they ultimately realized that for their own and everyone else’s health they, like so many others, had to cancel all their mid-west and west coast dates in March.

Again, they are doing the right thing, but this means no income for an entire industry for the foreseeable future.

“This whole situation has been a major financial setback for us. Touring is how we make our money — ticket and merchandise sales. Streaming services don’t really pay,” said Morgan, adding that, even as their income drops, they still have to pay for gas, rent and groceries. “Ahead of the tour, we invested our meager savings in making new merchandise, T-shirts and tapes and records. Now, they’re all just sitting in the back of the van.”

Glier is scheduling special online concerts that he is calling “pandemic parties” for his Patreon subscribers. Patreon is a monthly subscription service that is a way for artists to receive some financial support and to engage with their fans and provide subscribers with such things as unreleased recordings, concerts, and signed lyrics. The first concert was held on Saturday and two more are scheduled.

Learn more at Glier’s website at sethglier.com.

“I’ve realized as a creative that adaptation is in my nature, so I really wanted to make sure that we were bringing music to all of these homes that are going to feel incredibly isolated,” said Glier, who is currently working on new material and released a new single last Friday.

“I’m looking forward to these online shows as being an opportunity to connect and communicate with fans and to all kind of remember that we are not in isolation from one another emotionally and spiritually,” said Glier.” And, secondly, the transition to artists interfacing with their audience (remotely) was already happening and these tools provide an even greater opportunity right now.”

If you are a music fan who wants to help out at this time, you can head to your favorite artist’s website and buy some merchandise or order a CD or some vinyl. And, if a show you planned on going to was canceled, consider not taking the refund. If, like Glier, a musician has a Patreon account, do consider joining. And, don’t forget about your local venues — places like Hawks and Reed (hawksandreed.com) and Signatures Sounds (signaturesounds.com) also sell merchandise on websites as well as gift cards, which you can buy now and use for future shows (merchandise for Hawks and Reed is available at redbubble.com).

The most important thing right now is for everybody to stay in and stay healthy. Hopefully, we’ll all be out of the house and into the concert halls and clubs soon.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Contact her at soundslocal@yahoo.com.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy