A snapshot of the blues music scene right now

A snapshot of the blues music scene right now

July. The middle of the year for most of us, and the beginning of the year for those who have more money than CDs.

Time to get out and buy merch from your favourite musos and venues. Buy some gift vouchers, but don’t use them now. Make it a 0% loan. Wait until things get a bit more stable.

On January 1st we were at the Bluestone Blues Festival, listening to Dog Gone South, Amnesia Blues Band, Jimi Hocking’s Blues Machine and the Shane Pacey Trio. Starting the year surrounded by mates, the odd cleansing ale and great music.

What a difference six months can make.

I’m now living in Newtown, within sight of the Kardinia Park lights. We’ve seen the lights on quite a few times, but haven’t had to deal with the complete absence of parking spots and the roar of the crowd. Match day silence. Cats are playing there as I write this, and I can’t hear a damn thing coming from the stands. They say that the low scoring AFL games, and drawn games are a result of the lack of fans on site. Maybe we’ll see the first AFL nil all draw in a match this year.

Let’s see how that New Year’s Day Bluestone line-up is going now:

Dog Gone South: “Dog Gone South Blues does not have any upcoming events.”

Amnesia Blues Band: “Amnesia Blues Band does not have any upcoming events.”

Jimi Hocking: Marysville Music Weekend, Oct 16-18

Shane Pacey: “No events to show”

Marysville has said they will make a decision about exactly what form the festival will take by mid-July, taking into account any social distancing guidelines likely to still be in place. Until then ticket sales are on pause.

Three “no”s and a maybe, and that just about sums up the music industry at present.

OK, it’s a small sample, you could argue it this way and that, but there is no argument that our arts and entertainment sector is deep in it, right up to pussy’s bow! Either way the silence is pretty deafening.

Where they can, local venues are putting on bands and solo performers, but it’s going to be a long time before there’s anything like a big band on stage.

Sleepy Hollow’s venue is the Geelong Trades Hall’s Dancehall. The four square metre rule allows for 26 people in the room, and that includes the band and all supports.

I don’t need to draw you a picture. Every part of the arts and entertainment is hurting at present. Venues that can, have been doing streaming and running small events.

Some venues, like our Blues Train, just can’t restructure their venue to work within these restrictions, as much as they would like to do.

The Federal government’s $250 million package, for a sector of 600,000 people (their figures) comes out at $417 per person. But most of it’s either loans or for Commonwealth funded arts and culture organisations, not for the grass roots.

Time to make some noise. Next year remember that voting can make a loud noise!

Written by Dr John Lamp