Phase 3: Bands, venues cautiously optimistic of indoor live music allowances

Bands, venues cautiously optimistic of indoor live music allowances

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The only way music-starved ears have heard the Soul Brass band during the coronavirus pandemic is either through busking on the streets or through internet live streams.

“Phase three will increase our income for sure,” said Soul Brass Band leader, Derrick Freeman.

Freeman says, compared to months ago, they at least now have opportunities to play and earn a living. He says with the state moving to phase three, that means even more open doors.

He says now that there are guidelines, he feels more comfortable playing indoors.

“Now there’s a template. The trumpet players especially, wearing bell covers,” said Freeman.

Splitting from the state, Orleans Parish stays in a modified phase two while the rest of Louisiana moves to phase three, opening the door for venues to again hold live performances indoors.

More: La. to enter Phase 3 of reopening, except in Orleans Parish

“There will be a lot more excitement, we just got to make sure that we keep it contained. What we don’t want to do is step back,” said Fire Marshal, Butch Browning.

The state’s list of requirements extends to both the venues and performers. They include updates to HVAC systems, air units or fans on stage, social distancing among and between performers and the audience, plexiglass and masks for performers, and bell covers for instruments.

To continue improving COVID numbers in the state, Browning says they choose education first over enforcement.

“We want to make sure we get the word outright and we work with people and then they follow it, but they follow the rules and the guidelines with it so you can start enjoying that live music,” said Browning.

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One of those music venues that may stay closed to indoor crowds: the 125-year-old Dew Drop Jazz and Social Hall in Old Mandeville.

“There are no fans, other than a couple of small fans on the stage. So if there are heavy requirements for ventilation, it may limit what we’re able to do during the pandemic,” said Dew Drop Vice Chair, Dennis Schaible.

While indoor live music may be just out of reach for some, those in the business say it’s a step towards bringing the music back.

“The doom and gloom, there’s still a cloud but I guess everyone’s adjusting and just being able to play more gigs and be around each other helps mentalities… I have a lot of hope and potential for what things could be,” said Freeman.

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