The dire warning “#SaveOurStages – Time is running out” came from NIVA, the nonprofit National Independent Venue Association.
According to a July survey of 2,400 independent live music venues and promoters, 90% will close permanently in a few months without federal funding.
Like every live music venue, The Side Door, the intimate, 130-seat listening room established two years ago in Curtis Park, had to make a major pivot. Part of what is allowing The Side Door to remain open is a new live streaming concert series featuring some of Sacramento’s best Americana, folk, blues, country and jazz artists. Richard March, Ross Hammond, Jessica Malone, Gabe Nelson, Sea of Bees, Dog Party and The Blanchards have all performed this summer.
Scheduled in September are The Sidedooros (John Green’s country band) on Sept. 19, and jazz singer Shelly Burns Sept. 26.
Tickets are $10. Once you pass the paywall, you’re in. If you miss any of the one-hour concerts, they are all archived so mid-afternoon or late-night viewing is at your fingertips at https://www.thesidedoor.net/livestreams.
Eric Bianchi, a longtime Curtis Park resident and owner of Bianchi Sound, designed, installed and ran sound at The Side Door. Bianchi is now working with owner (and Fifth String Music School master) John Green, buying gear and ramping up production values.
“It’s so odd,” Bianchi says. “In November, I started buying more cameras so that I could learn streaming for my business … and then COVID happened. I had no idea that it would become the way musicians are having to present themselves.”
There is no live audience for these entertainers to play off – just you, a loyal music lover – with your favorite beverage in the comfort of your home. But, “It’s such a relief to play and sing out again,” said Lorieanne Blanchard during The Blanchards duo performance Aug.15. Because there are no gigs or touring this year, live streaming is one way musicians survive.
Bianchi says he “shoots with three to four cameras through a switcher set-up that goes to a MacBook that streams directly onto thesidedoor.net site on Wix. We record all of the individual cameras and backup audio to ProTools on a second Mac in case we want to reedit audio or video later.”
August has been particularly booked up. Some of the bands that would normally play live on Labor Day weekend at the 30th Annual Chalk It Up! Festival in midtown Sacramento have been recording segments that will be part of the three-day live streaming festival – https://chalkitup.org/.
NIVA was founded in April to help venues deal with the pandemic. The NIVA website is https://www.saveourstages.com/.
The local nonprofit version of NIVA is California Capitol Venue Coalition, representing area venues and promoters – https://www.facebook.com/cacapitolvenuecoalition/.