Are Those Shows, I See? Live Music Slowly Returning to the Upstate

  • By cvbizz
  • May 27, 2020
  • 0
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Brett Barest

I am taking a short break from “Artists Picking Artists” this week to talk about something we all miss – live shows. As I look at the iOnGreenville music calendar and my Facebook events feed, I cannot help but notice that shows are finally reappearing on the schedule, albeit in limited numbers at select venues with certain restrictions. I am still trying to figure out what this means for the live music scene but I wanted to take a minute to see where things stand at the moment.

As expected, venues with outdoor stages are the first to get back to the business of live music as they offer the safest environments for public congregation. Spartanburg’s FR8yard has had a full slate of live music on their outdoor stage for a few weeks now without incident and Piedmont’s Golden Grove Farm & Brew is hosting Vilai Harrington & the Hamptones (the socially distance-able trio version) this Friday night.

In Downtown Greenville, Smiley’s Acoustic Café’s calendar appears to be business as usual with live music almost nightly. A closer look reveals that they are balancing being open with good sense and still offering curbside service for takeout orders, keeping in-house seating at 50%, and encouraging listeners to take in the show from a sidewalk table or their deck out back.

Other venues, like Greenville’s Radio Room and Greer’s Spinning Jenny seem to be taking a more cautious approach, holding back on live shows until mid-June, if not later.

Which of these approaches is the right one? I have no idea. I am neither a doctor nor someone easily influenced by the media or either major political party to know if the pandemic threat is a serious risk going forward or an issue where the worst has passed. I do know, however, that I am still married to that little bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket every time I touch anything in public and I sure do look forward to the day when I can see my 70+ year old parents without worrying even a little bit about carrying something harmless to me but potentially life threatening to them.

I also know that I respect all of the aforementioned businesses and their efforts to make the best of things in these uncertain times. As the husband of a small business owner, I know firsthand that every day of this offers a new set of plot twists that so many of us are ill-equipped to prepare for. Everybody’s answer being the right one is far too much to expect so we can all only do our best as it applies to our own situations.

As for which one of the ever growing number of shows on the calendar, I will be enjoying The LOZ Band’s annual LionzFest at Quest Brewing Company this Sunday afternoon. It continues the trend of streaming shows in lieu of crowds of breathing humans while refusing to cancel what has become a wonderful annual tradition. Hopefully this week and the ones to come all just put us one step closer to enjoying shows together in person without any fear about what risks we are taking in the process.

I expect to be back to the “Artists Picking Artists” way of things next week and, while I have a few ideas about who I want to speak to next, I would also love to hear from anyone else who is a local musician with a list of their own to share. is where to find me while I am helping The Wife sling the nood’s over at Naked Pasta the next few days. Stay safe out there, everybody.

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