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Artists talk about COVID-19′s impact on Lexington’s music scene

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 2:16 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - COVID-19 has affected all sectors of our society, including the music industry.

Local artists aren’t hitting the right note in front of live audiences because the days of large crowds are on pause.

RaeShawna Campbell, and her band the Rae’Camp Band, haven’t performed in front of a live audience since they sang at B Stings Lounge in downtown Lexington back on March 14.

Three months later, that feeling of putting on a show is a natural high that is deeply missed.

“Yeah, it is like a drug,” Campbell said. “I’m going through withdrawals you know that interaction I really miss it.”

Bands are missing money too.

“For the month of May, we lost over a thousand dollars,” Campbell said. “Some of my musicians, this is their only source of income they’ve had to go ahead and find other jobs.”

To make matters worse, this is the peak season for bands. It’s the time when weddings planners and venues are looking for entertainment.

A few weeks ago, Kenny Owens was At Cocktails Too, playing in front of a small crowd as people waited for curbside service. Owens had been playing just about every weekend for 40 years until March 3, when COVID-19 stopped the music.

“It’s weird being home on a Friday night, Saturday night, every weekend,” Owens said. “Just kind of strange for me it’s not a normal thing.”

As things slowly start to open, other restaurants Like Sav’s Grill, are setting up tents so customers can enjoy live music with social distancing. Right now, it looks this is the new normal for musicians.

“I mean, it could be a situation where we never get back to a situation where we were where you are in a night club with a packed dance floor, a packed place, you know?” Owens said. “Shoulder to shoulder and everybody is having a blast singing and dancing you know that may be gone.”

RaeShawna Campbell and Kenny Owens have full-time jobs outside of music. But they know it’s hard out there for those nationally known artists who aren’t getting paid from doing summer tours.

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