by Pam Baumgardner
We find ourselves in uncharted territory as the Covid-19 pandemic hits home. Many venues initially didn’t take Governor Newsom’s Stay-Home Order too seriously, but once the Ventura County Public Health Officer, Dr. Robert Levin, issued our own local emergency order, each venue, one by one, closed their doors and posted on social media they would not be open for business until allowed to do so; and as much as we all would like to think live music is an essential service, alas, by definition, it brings people together in too close proximity to remain safe.
This extraordinary event is disrupting our normal routine and we’re scrambling to figure out how best to endure and stay safe.
Forever the optimist, I still feel for our community; I feel for the musicians who lost all their gigs; I feel for Sheldon Brown, publisher of the Ventura Breeze, as his advertisers have fallen short of covering the cost of production, yet he’s doing everything he can to keep the Breeze alive; I feel for all the small business owners forced to close their doors (hopefully just temporarily); I feel for the grocery workers who have to constantly restock (and deal with cranky customers) as certain people feel compelled to overbuy; I feel for first responders forever on standby, ready to serve; I feel for parents with children unexpectedly at home due to school closures; and I feel for those scared and worried about this pandemic because that is in their nature to do so. The only comfort and advice I can offer is to ask those who are in anguish to take a step back, and really try to realize worrying doesn’t help anyone (especially you and your family), it only adds to the problem. If you can get to that point, then figure out what you can do to better the situation; seriously, do something, anything!
During this time of social distancing, I’ve seen so many resourceful and creative solutions for remaining connected especially using social media, but I’ll be honest, Facebook can be potentially soul damaging when people constantly vent angry political-blaming posts, but I want you to remember that you have the power to “hide” those posts, even “unfollow” and “delete” friends and in extreme situations, “block” individuals who chronically share mind-numbing snarky remarks, false information and diatribe. What’s left are pictures of pets, children running amok, creative suggestions to try at home, groups forming to support each other (one is a bartering group here in Ventura) and of course all our beautiful musicians providing live online concerts using social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, even Cadenza.tv).
I was concerned for a day, maybe two, on how to move forward with supporting Ventura’s music scene on my website VenturaRocks.com, but once I saw musicians and singer/songwriters inviting fans to view their home concerts, I knew I could help promote and list those events instead of venue calendars. And because I’m also a website designer, I created a page where you can view that video after the performance is over on the VenturaRocks Artist page. And just so you know, many of the performers also provide a way to make a donation, a tip jar if you will, so you can help these artists who lost all their gigs for the time being.
I’ll be honest (with a Cheshire smile), it’s a little mini vacation for me not having to research where all the live music is and compiling a calendar (both for the Breeze and VenturaRocks.com). Here’s a little insight on where I get my information: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, messenger, text messages, phone calls and venue websites, not to mention the occasional flyer I’ll spot walking around town. What makes it even more challenging is the fact that people will not always list an event in a timely manner, so I have to research several times a week instead of only once, and even then, I can miss a gig by someone who posted the morning of the show. So yeah, I’m decompressing and enjoying cleaning out the junk drawer(s), and spending time with my senior pups.
Gratefully, the Stay Home Order allows us to go to the grocery store and pharmacy, even to a restaurant for take-out or drive-thru, which brings up another point. While we are at home, we can still support local restaurants who are providing delivery services, many of them without delivery fees. For a list of FAQs on what is allowed, go to vcemergency.com/staywellvc.
As I follow the guidelines of social distancing, I’m loving my community uplifting each other and voicing words of support as I walk my senior dogs down at Pierpont Beach, albeit, at least from a distance of six feet or more. I’m seeing people out enjoying the fresh air, walking their own dogs, biking, jogging and letting their kids out for some much-needed space, which after all, Ventura’s space is one of the most beautiful on the planet.
Please keep in mind, we will get through this quicker if we all adhere to the guidelines here and now.
#TogetherAtHome #StayVenturaStrong #StirCrazy #SupportYourLocalMusican #TheVenturaBreezeRocks #WeCanDoThis #VenturaWillRockAgain
Finally, my sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Jim Salzer as the community grieves at his passing. He was an icon here in town and his impact on the music scene as a concert promoter and record and video store owner will be felt for a very long time.
Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com. For updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.