As more concert venues shutter business for good, promoters are working hard to preserve the heartbeat of the local music scene.
NY Rock ‘N Roots, in partnership with High Peaks Event Production and WEQX, is contributing to the cause by hosting a virtual concert series and fundraiser called “Hope for the Holidays.” The concerts will be streamed every Saturday, with proceeds from the fundraiser benefitting the National Independent Venue Association and wearebrewnited.com.
“We chose acts that we have been working with for a long time and have that existing connection,” Roger Sharp, president of High Peaks Event Production, said. “We also have had several generous sponsors who have made this event possible.”
Sharp helped facilitate a fantastic line-up, including Jocelyn & Chris Arndt with Rich Ortiz, Wild Adriatic, Let’s Be Leonard and The Charlie Smith Blues Band. On Saturday, Dec. 19, The Wheel will take the stage. The shows will be pre-recorded.
While the shows are free, viewers are encouraged to make a donation to the cause. Donations of $25 or more will automatically qualify the viewer to win one of two gift cards being offered that weekend; the gift cards were donated from local businesses. For every donation of $50 or higher, the donor is entered to win an overnight stay at The Inn at Saratoga, along with an accompanying gift card and a NY Rock ‘N Roots t-shirt.
Sharp’s business is one of many that the pandemic strangled during the early stages. On March 13, he had three trucks packed for upcoming shows. Within a day, the state shut down, indefinitely postponing scheduled shows and forcing businesses to find other means to keep the lights on. While restaurants and retail services have been able to use take-out, delivery and curbside services to keep some income, many venues have been completely dark since March, save a few virtual streams. The State Liquor Authority’s mandate that paid shows cannot be advertised only further throttled venues who thought they would be able to host some socially distant shows during the summer. Now that a second wave has hit, venues are once again forced to hunker down and resort to strictly digital means until further notice — although it remains unclear when “normal” will return.
“We keep saying saving these stages is important because we need something to come back to once the pandemic finally ends,” he said. “We have to support our local venues and businesses so they survive.”
Sharp added he hopes the shows help relieve some stress many are still facing.
“The psychological detriments of this time are enormous,” Sharp concluded. “From the 25 live streams we’ve hosted since the pandemic began, we’ve been determined to provide entertainment and keep people sane. We need to be able to find some release.”
For showtimes and how to donate, visit facebook.com/nyrocknroots.