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With Concerts Canceled, New Facebook Page Seeks To Promote Streamed Live Shows For Out-Of-Work Musicians

Social Distancing Presents will help artists hosting livestreamed shows to find audiences and be paid for their performance.

Vandoliers perform at 2019's Square Roots festival.
Alex V. Hernandez/Block Club Chicago
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LINCOLN SQUARE — Like a lot of industries in America, musicians and performing artists are suffering from the public gathering bans put in place to combat coronavirus.

A new concert promotion effort, however, aims to connect home-bound musicians and fans for special livestreamed shows.

Social Distancing Presents” is a new Facebook page that promotes artists who are livestreaming shows from their home. On the page, artists can create events for the upcoming shows, and Social Distancing Presents will then help get the word out about the concert, said Mark Guarino, a Chicago journalist who created the page.

The goal is to help otherwise out-of-work musicians find audiences for their live shows, and to help those practicing self quarantining to get some live entertainment, Guarino said.

“A lot of shows have obviously been canceled, and a lot of people are sitting at home, feeling stir crazy,” Guarino said. “The idea is to bring them together.”

States across the country have been banning public events of certain sizes, with Illinois instituting a ban on gatherings of 50 people or larger. The bans have caused the mass cancellation of concerts and tours, and some acts, like the Indigo Girls, have decided instead to host livestreamed performances for fans.

Guarino is hoping to help acts promote their livestreamed shows and find bigger audiences, which in turn can help the musicians supplement their income during the down time. Event pages for livestreamed shows will include a PayPal or Venmo account, so fans can donate to musicians while watching them perform.

Social Distancing Presents is helping to get the word out about Justin Roberts’ planned livestreamed performances. On Thursday, the Chicago-based, Grammy-nominated children’s musician will host a livestreamed concert and craft project.

The social distancing and self quarantine practices are helping to prevent further outbreak of the coronavirus, but it also causes neighbors to miss out on some of the culture that makes Chicago a world-class city, Guarino said.

“Because people are spending more time at home, they’re being cut off from the culture that is right down the block,” Guarino said. “This is a way for them to engage in with that culture, and keep these connections with their community.”

For more information on Social Distancing Presents, click here.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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