By Bill Wood | Special to Moonshine Ink
Nothing makes you feel good like music at a live show. It is a unique experience that enhances our sense of well-being, community, and shared joy, while providing an escape from everyday life. Who does not recall their first concert? Nowadays, we all remember our last.
Live music means so much to so many. It is an important part of the culture at the Crystal Bay Club and is the heart and soul of what we do. Few things bring us more pleasure than seeing 600 folks leaving the Crown Room with smiles on their faces.
Back in late February, we heard the first rumblings of bands possibly canceling tours due to this new virus no one really understood. By March 17, when Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak closed all casinos, the writing was on the wall. The Allman Betts Band had been scheduled to perform three nights later — but the lights in the Crown Room had dimmed. Almost overnight, the tour industry came to a screeching halt, but it was not just the musicians that were affected. So many hard-working people come together to put on a show. There are the sound and lighting pros, the instrument techs, road crew, tour manager, talent buyer, bartenders, wait staff, maintenance, electricians, security, and the cleaning crew. Plus, the band would never make it anywhere without the bus drivers. Every one of these folks were furloughed; many had no safety net. Independent contractors were being denied unemployment benefits. Many have received nothing to this day. The system simply did not work for the live music industry. To make matters worse, no one knows when this nightmare will end.
It has now been six months and many venues, including some iconic ones, are closed or are closing at an alarming rate. It appears that there will be fewer and fewer homes for bands to play whenever things do open up. A survey in Austin, Texas, the “Live Music Capital of the World,” predicted that 90% of its local music venues would be closed by Halloween. Rolling Stone reported that over a thousand clubs and theaters are in danger of shutting down. At times it seems hopeless, but there is something you can do. Congress is scheduled to vote on the Restart Act. This bill is designed to assist venues pay their rent, rehire and pay their staff, subsidize their utilities, and keep them afloat for the foreseeable future. This is a bipartisan bill. If you want to save Tipitina’s, The Troubadour, Slim’s, and so many other venues that have fostered the bands we all love, call or write your representative and ask that they support the Restart Act.
A day is coming when we will again be able to wait in those god-awful lines, rush to get the best spot on the floor, lean on the bar to order a shot and a beer, dance with a stranger, be energized, smile, and experience that gift that can bring us all together — LIVE MUSIC. Until that time, buy CDs, downloads, or vinyl. Give your favorite band’s merchandise as presents for the holidays. Drop some virtual coin in the virtual tip jar while enjoying a virtual show. There is nothing that compares to live music. Hang in there and know that just as soon as we can, the Crown Room will be hosting more music and bigger names than we ever have before.