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How to Help Small Music Venues

2020 July 15
by Mike Vial

Hi friends, I hope everyone is finding some calmness, through the waves of anxiety, throughout this summer. My wife, kids, and I are blessed with our large yard in the outskirts of Ann Arbor, and our nature trail nearby.

I haven’t seen anyone, except my parents and wife’s parents & grandmother, throughout the pandemic. I miss you. We are prioritizing this time for our kids to see their grandparents and 91-year-old grandmother throughout the pandemic, with as close to zero risk for them, until we know what autumn will reveal.

And then Facebook reminds me how two years ago, Mike Gentry Music and I shared the best gig of my life at the The Ark – Ann Arbor. Many of you were there. (My mom and dad were too. We just celebrated my dad’s birthday at my house on July 12th.)

The Ark is having a campaign:

If we donate this month, Ford will match $15K. I urge you to find a music venue in your area to do the same. A bookstore that needs help. A friend’s small business. A musician you can buy from on Bandcamp.

Music life will never return to normal. Most independent music venues will close, since their margins were so slim to begin with. Many independent musicians won’t be releasing music for a long time, the payouts of streaming too low to even pay for the coffee we anxiously drink in the morning.

I emphasize: I’m doing OK. I’ll be teaching at Huron High for my second year, lucky not to be laid off again like last summer at Farmington.

I’ve been quiet on Facebook here, leaving space for other musicians to share their stuff. But the newness of online concerts has worn off. Now, we simply need to reach out to our musical friends and offer a hand. Buy something online. Send a gift. Do what we can.

I’ll be donating to the Ark and Trinity House Theatre this week. They are two venues that have supported me so much this decade.

Thank you for all of your support of the arts and music at the local level. The most important thing we can do doesn’t cost money: We can keep following all of the guidelines to protect our neighbors: masks, social distancing, and tight social bubbles for now.

Covid keeps knocking at the door. We need not answer, so we can be entering our music venues’ doors next year.

God how I miss you all. Online connection isn’t doing it for me anymore.


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