For as much grimness in the world that is shown to us everyday via whatever device we are tethered to, overall, it feels like there is a new found sense of optimism.
Today, everyone is tuned to their own frequency. Everyone can be as open or closed minded as they choose to be. Being in touch with folks from all walks of life and various parts of America, this seems to be the overall trend. A big psychic relief seems to be the slow, creeping return of live music.
The scales are tipping. The weight of uncertainty has kept the balance out of whack. As it returns to a normal level, so does the scale.
As I’ve stated before, the continued displays of creativity and ingenuity have been inspiring. The latest example has taken place in San Diego. The creators of the “Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival” have launched a new mobile music endeavor called the “Wonderbus.” It’s a double-decker bus featuring a full stage. Bands will play for passersby along the Gaslamp District, Pacific Coast Highway and at designated stops.
Spectators at these stops are required to wear masks and socially distance. If these protocols aren’t met, the bus will drive away. Recently, the Wonderbus was deployed on St. Patrick’s Day, featuring local San Diego acts and a Los Angeles-based U2 tribute band called “L.A.vation.”
Even closer to our backyard, live music has returned to Venice in a “micro” format. Outside of The Bike Shop in Santa Monica, songwriter Billy Stobo has literally created a new way to showcase his music every Friday night. Also a carpenter, he has constructed a microstage with a wood enclosure called the music box. This allows him to stay inside and distanced from spectators on the sidewalk.
What started off as a temporary solution during COVID has turned into a consistent event with a weekly following. As reported in the Santa Monica Mirror, Stobo hopes to now tour nationally and internationally with his stage.
“My goal is to travel with it and expand it,” he said in the article. “I do my best with it when it’s traveling and engaging with people. This is great having a home base where you can rely on a community here. The community is key.”
Along with new innovations, traditional or semi-traditional methods are making a return. Clubs around the country are making a slow reopening with limited capacity, including the Baked Potato in Studio City, which plans to open on April 15.
Artists in all levels of the music business are announcing various dates and tours throughout the year and in 2022. Pod-style shows are also becoming more prominent. For those unaware, this is where venues sell seats in clusters of two or three, typically, and reduce the overall capacity of a venue.
As usual, per COVID, every place has it’s own standards and protocols. Some parts of the country are going full bore and others are still tightly restricted. Everybody is in tune to their own frequency.
This is precisely why I do these updates. It’s not to read my own thoughts back, like a narcissist loves to hear their own voice. It’s to help start the conversation within our community.
I truly believe we can learn from each other, borrow and grow together, while doing our own thing. Ideally at the core, that’s what any town, city or state is trying to do. It’s every speck in the mosaic coming together to create a complete picture, so instead of being a lone man shouting into his echo chamber every week, I hope this is a bit of kindling to build a bigger bonfire of creativity.
I hope the movers, shakers and those with a profound passion for all creative endeavors in the Valley, will embrace something new. There’s a million ways to look at life and the various challenges faced within it.
The need to adapt will never go away. This is truly what the spirit of our desert community is about. Nature does not want us to live here, but we survive anyway. Creativity could easily go away here, but dedicated people keep it living and thriving.
I hope this is the year, as we slowly reopen, that the population of this valley slowly sees the potential of what our community could become.