Update: FitzGerald’s has decided to cancel the Shout Section Big Band virtual concert due to nearby shelter-in-place requirements.
With the CDC’s recommendation to limit group gatherings and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s shutdown of Illinois bars and restaurants amid COVID-19 concerns, music venues and theater stages throughout the area are going dark.
No touring acts. No ticketed performances.
But as Ron Onesti, president and CEO of the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, said in an announcement Saturday, “The music will get us through this.”
The Arcada Theatre joins a number of suburban music venues exploring audience-free options to keep shows going while complying with the crowd restrictions.
The Arcada’s #MUSICSTRONG Live Stream Concert Series, which launched Sunday, features a nightly performance on the theater’s stage livestreamed for free through the website at arcadalive.com.
“As we shutter our venues during this scary episode we are experiencing today, I believe it is the responsibility of all of us in the music industry to give back to the ticket and beverage buying public,” Onesti said.
So far, the performance schedule includes:
• Kashmir’s salute to Led Zeppelin on Wednesday, March 18
• 7th heaven Thursday, March 19
• Rosie and the Rivets Friday, March 20
• Infinity Saturday, March 21
• “Sinatra Sunday” from the Club Arcada Speakeasy on March 22
• EZFM Yacht on Monday, March 23
• Heart to Heartbreaker Tuesday, March 24
• ARRA Thursday, March 26
More bands will be added as Onesti said he wants it to be a nightly program. All performances will be from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at arcadalive.com.
FitzGerald’s Nightclub presents its own livestream performance from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22, as the Shout Section Big Band plays a virtual concert at the Berwyn nightspot.
The performance will be streamed at shoutsection.com or facebook.com/shoutsection. A link provided with the livestream will allow viewers to donate much-needed income for professional musicians struggling at this time. Gift cards and FitzGerald’s T-shirts will also be available online to help support the nightclub’s employees while the venue is shuttered.
The 200-seat Aurora performance space The Venue suspended performances at least through the end of March.
“We recognize that local and touring musical artists rely on places like The Venue for their livelihood,” Dave Glynn, president of the Fox Valley Music Foundation which runs The Venue, said in an announcement Monday. “We also know that our growing audience will greatly miss the live music.”
To that end, The Venue staff is rescheduling shows until after the crisis passes and exploring streaming virtual performances from the website at themusicvenue.org.
Hey Nonny, the downtown Arlington Heights eatery and music venue, has no performances announced for April yet, but plans are in the works to ease the transition back to a normal schedule with livestreamed performances once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Watch for further details.