Missing live music? More than 50 artist come together for week-long virtual festival

By Matt Wickstrom, Kentucky.com

From left: Nicholas Jamerson, Jessica Lea Mayfield and Ben Sollee

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Missing that live music sound? The Master Musicians’ Social Distance Fest is here to cure your blues.

The seven-day streaming music festival is making sure the music never fades away even as the coronavirus pandemic puts a halt to touring musicians livelihood and traditional shows as we know it.

The virtual festival is set to stream live on Facebook from 3-11 p.m. March 23-29 with over 50 musicians participating from Kentucky and beyond including Sumbuck (the solo project from Taylor Meier of CAAMP), Ben Sollee, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Arlo McKinley, Blackfoot Gypsies and Nicholas Jamerson, among others.

The online music festival, which will be free to view but online tips encouraged, is a collaboration between Lexington indie music project Buck the Taxidermist, Lexington live music venue The Burl and the Somerset based Master Musicians Festival.

The idea first came to Kyle Ayres of Buck the Taxidermist while he was working his job at Sweetgrass Natural Foods this past Monday. It started as a mini virtual concert with Abby Hamilton, Carver Commodore and a few others quickly blossomed into the week-long show.

“I was thinking about the musicians who do this for a living,” said Ayres. “I’m fortunate enough to have a day job that pays the bills and am only having to cancel a couple of gigs as a result of everything going on. However, I know countless other artists aren’t as lucky and rely heavily on income from shows. This festival is for them.”

After pulling together around a dozen bands on his own, Ayres reached out to Sarah Cahill and Tiffany Finley of the Master Musicians Festival, joining forces and tapping into the event’s 27 years of networking in the music biz to expand the first-of-its-kind multi-day virtual event exponentially. The Burl has since joined the fray as well, tapping on their connections to bring all facets of the local music industry together for the event.

“People are going to be home all week, so we wanted to do something to keep their spirits up while continuing to engage in the arts and local businesses in their local communities,.” said Finley.

Social Distance Fest
Graphic by Sarah Gillum

Beginning at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 23, the Social Distance Fest will feature artists performing from their bedrooms, homes, studios, or wherever in hour-long time slots daily until 11 p.m. through Sunday, March 29, on the event’s official Facebook page. During their performances people watching live online will be able to send the artist’s virtual tips via Venmo or Paypal and buy merchandise like music, t-shirts, koozies and more if they’d like. Providing insight and background into each artist during the festival will be emcee Dusty Wesley of the Kentucky Music Preview podcast.

“Kentuckians take great pride in music,” said Wesley. “It’s nice to be part of a community that supports each other in times of need. Musicians want to entertain and this event will give them an outlet.”

“Attendees” will also be able to “buy a drink” from Burl bartenders on Venmo (@burlfam) to help support the venue’s front of house and bar staff during their shutdown as well along with visual artist Sarah Gillum (@sarahgillumm), the in-house poster designer at The Burl and crafter of the graphics for the Social Distance Fest.

“We want to see this community thrive, now more than ever,” said Will Harvey, co-owner of The Burl. “We all need each other’s support, which is why we at The Burl are more than happy to help partner on this as we hope to bring a little bit of light and joy to these dark, unprecedented times.”

This story was originally published at Kentucky.com.

Master Musicians’ Social Distance Fest schedule

Subject to change

Monday, March 23

3 p.m.: Towne

4 p.m.: Xaris Waltman

5 p.m.: Kites

6 p.m.: Justin Carlson

7 p.m.: McKenzie Lockhart

8 p.m.: Brody Price

9 p.m.: Edward+Jane

10 p.m.: Brother Smith

Tuesday, March 24

3 p.m.: Dave Ernst

4 p.m.: Dalton Mills

5 p.m.: The Folk Project

6 p.m.: Scott T. Smith

7 p.m.: Jessica Lea Mayfield

8 p.m.: Mikaela Davis

9 p.m.: Cody Lee Meece

10 p.m.: Carver Commodore

Wednesday, March 25

3 p.m.: Tiffany Williams

4 p.m.: Jordan Smart

5 p.m.: Abby Hamilton

6 p.m.: Cara Louise

7 p.m.: Le’ponds

8 p.m.: Mojothunder

9 p.m.: Blackfoot Gypsies

10 p.m.: Carriers

Thursday, March 26

3 p.m.: Jonathan New

4 p.m.: Jenn Marie

5 p.m.: Elizabeth Varnado

6 p.m.: Tiny Tiny

7 p.m.: The Local Honeys

8 p.m.: Arlo McKinley

9 p.m.: Bendigo Fletcher

10 p.m.: Grayson Jenkins

Friday, March 27

3 p.m.: This Pine Box

4 p.m.: Chelsea Adams

5 p.m.: Jeremy Short

6 p.m.: Sumbuck

7 p.m.: Ben Sollee

8 p.m.: Eric Bolander

9 p.m.: Buck the Taxidermist

10 p.m.: Michigander

Saturday, March 28

3 p.m.: Logan Fox

4 p.m.: Crea

5 p.m.: Josh Nolan

6 p.m.: Quivers

7 p.m.: Will Solomon

8 p.m.: Lylak

9 p.m.: Sylmar

10 p.m.: Spooky Fox

Sunday, March 29

3 p.m.: Jen Tackett

4 p.m.: Raymond Joseph

5 p.m.: Adam Stewart

6 p.m.: Bee Taylor

7 p.m.: Nicholas Jamerson

8 p.m.: Dave Shoemaker

9 p.m.: John R. Miller

10 p.m.: Chelsea Nolan

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