making the scene

it's about so much more than just the loss of income

local musicians and bands miss playing for you

straight from the hearts and minds of some of Kelowna's favourite artists

by Miles Overn

the situation

Those of us who are used to going out and catching local artists play live are all experiencing massive withdrawal pains these days. That particular source of pleasure for us has been yanked out of our hands and stripped away from our lives in an instant with a ferocity that is both startling and discombobulating. Almost like a staged intervention and being sent off to a recovery centre, only to find that there's nobody else there. Instead we're alone with our need and our lack of understanding. It has to be even more stark for musicians!

the scene

The local music scene is made up of artists and bands ranging from those who make their entire living from music to those who fall into the weekend warrior category and everything in between. Some of them normally gig every weekend, others less often. Some supplement their gigging income by giving lessons. Others have full time employment and squeeze playing into their schedules. The one thing they all share in common is a love of playing live in front of an audience.

"... but I can be creative playing guitar. It’s what I am, who I am and what defines and elevates me ..." - sean bray

the passion

All the local musicians that I have come to know well share a deep love for and passion about the entire "creative" lifestyle. For most musicians, the peak of the whole creative process is sharing their own creations, or their interpretations of others', in one of those live performances. For you and me.

Practicing and rehearsing and then ultimately getting up on stage and putting it all on the line. The feedback and the energy that they receive from a live audience during those performances brings a sense of validation of the whole process and indeed the lifestyle itself. Losing that is hard to fathom and even harder to put into words.

"... a gig is like speed dating, a room full of people you don't know-first, tentative smiles, initial eye contact ..." - sue ruuska (rollin' coal)

the impact

With such a diverse group of musicians and bands, the impact on their livelihoods has varied from pretty darn serious to absolutely devastating. For those who normally make their entire living from gigging, well, it's been a problem to say the least. Many of them are scrambling to put on live stream shows on Facebook or Instagram or other platforms, and we try to point to as many of those performances that we become aware of. Others are trying to adapt by offering online lessons and other things. Those issues, however, only speak to the financial losses being suffered by our local music heros.

"... I also miss my fans, and being able to try new music I’ve been working on through the winter months on live audiences ..." - ben klick

in their own words

Please take a minute to read what each of these artists has been willing to share. Learn a little more about them; what drives them, why they do what they do it, and why they're missing it.

If you can, visit their sites or go to where they make their online songs and videos availble, and maybe buy some of their tunes. It may just put a few bucks in their jeans and will let them know that you know that they still exist.

We put up a page at the start of this COVID shutdown where we list all the online places we know of where you can listen to and purchase local artists' songs. That information is available at our Local Tunes page.

eiKelowna is part of the Global Eidentities Internet group of online properties, which is headquartered right here in Kelowna.

the artists

Sean Bray

Solo Artist, Cod Gone Wild, Dirt Road Opera, Songs of the Southern Belles

“The Covid -19 pandemic changed the world in what seemed like a day. Our whole way of life as we knew it closed like a Venus fly trap. Unfortunately the industry that I have made my entire living on since I was 18 shut down overnight. What I do for a living was the fly in the Venus fly trap. Obviously having my sole income source grind to a halt is terrible but equally crushing is the blow to my creativity.

I can’t build or fix anything and I’m not a numbers guy but I can be creative playing guitar. It’s what I am, who I am and what defines and elevates me to something I can be proud of. It makes me special, at least in my mind. Playing with other musicians and responding in the moment is what I do best and that has been taken from me during this. Having said that I am lucky that my family and I are healthy and I know that is something to be very thankful for during these times. Other families aren’t so lucky. I can’t wait for the world to return to regular scheduled programming."

Rollin' Coal Trio

Cover Band

Good morning. I am the vocalist for Rollin' Coal Trio, here in Kelowna. This is our third year as a band, though collectively, we have decades of time playing for audiences. As our rep has spread, this was our first year of being booked pretty solid by February, for most of the year, with our 2nd summer winery tour poised to begin May 1st. We also had bookings for Penticton Ribfest, Oliver's Roots n Fruits Festival and an invite to Terrace, B.C. for a festival there. Some dates have been moved to the 2021 calendar, some moved to September with fingers crossed and some cancelled outright.

Of course, we all continue to play at home but you can't substitute the energy of a live audience. The feeling that is cultivated through an evening with people is a magical thing, a relationship forms with staff and patrons as we move through our show. It's a bond, a promise of fun and entertainment, smiles and laughter. We did an apres ski at Globe, Big White in January. We had 16 followers drive up from Kelowna, plus the patrons already at the hill. People danced in their ski boots, sang along with us, we all had a ball together and were promptly asked back for 3 more dates. Sadly, we only got to play one more of those before covid set the world on its ass. We have some hope for the dates that are booked at smaller winery venues outside and have heard that they are trying to accommodate the social spacing needed to allow patrons back on site. I haven't even made an event on our band page for many of our bookings, because I just don't know if they will go forward. It looked like such a promising year but now we languish in an unsure state of suspension, waiting, hoping...

A gig is like speed dating, a room full of people you don't know-first, tentative smiles, initial eye contact, then we start (I think people are actually nervous for a band-they hope we're good and will feel badly for us, or any band, if not). Once we get going, people relax, knowing they will have a good time, I banter with the crowds (no i-pad for me, I memorize every song, which helps stay connected with the crowd) and next thing you know, they're singing along, dancing-and boom! the night ends-there are hugs, kind comments, maybe a round of drinks is bought, new friends are made, some start following our band page, we get asked back for another date. It's just such a wonderful thing to be able to do! We are missing it terribly...

Ben Klick

Ben Klick

COVID-19 has hit the music industry in a big way. One of the major hits has been on numerous shows, tours, and live events that have been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. As a musician, and as a fan of music in general, it’s sad to see these events that have been built through years of hard work, organizing, volunteering, and more be put on the back burner.

These events were “getaways” for a lot of people. It gave time to get out and check out some new scenery, see people’s favourite artists, and be with friends and family. Musicians got to connect with fans, try out new music on their audiences, and have Meet & Greet opportunities to personally thank their fans.

Being an artist and musician, myself, touring was my main source of income. I had the largest booked tour of my career planned for 2020 hitting cities all over Western Canada. With the turn to more of a digital download world, musician’s have had to adjust to be able to make money performing music, as every stream on a digital platform generates a fraction of a penny that gets split between the songwriters, artists, and other team members involved. I also miss my fans, and being able to try new music I’ve been working on through the winter months on live audiences. The crowds at each show always gave the band and I a rush of adrenaline, and we had as much fun as they did during each show.

Looking forward, the pandemic has forced musicians, artists, and event organizers to look at different ways to promote, and raise awareness. A few of those examples include “Virtual Artist Appearances” for corporate business meetings through Zoom, or The District of Lake Country’s newly announced “Sidewalk Concert Series” to abide by social distancing parameters.

For me, I’ve started to look into other opportunities such as getting my music into film and TV, looking into commercial FM, AM, and Satellite Radio airplay, music production and editing, songwriting, a video series for YouTube and social media revolving around my life as a country music artist, and more. And as a promoter, I’ve had to re-structure and think about my fundraising event, “Music Fest MS”, and move that to a YouTube stream on May 24th and pushing all donations online.

There are both positives and negatives that have come out of COVID-19, however, if it wouldn’t have happened, I’m not sure if I would have had the extra time to explore new skills and interests within the music industry. And I do plan on releasing new music digitally for my fans because they’re a massive part of why I do what I do. It’s a community, and I look forward to the day where we can have some live music gatherings again.

Nils Loewen

Nils Loewen, Fiddle Big Fiddle, Swamp Honey

When asked "are you going to live stream a concert?" I just shake my head. As an avid musician I rarely even watch my friend's live streams. The medium is wrong, it's not the sounds that I'm after, it's the connection. A great performer is a guide to the audience who brings everyone to a new level - together.

Without the hope to perform live playing music feels empty. Music is a conversation. Without the interaction with my bandmates and the audience I'm left just making sounds alone in my room.

It will be healing to share music together again after lockdown. We're not really living while in isolation from one a other.

Rick "Poppa Dawg" Halisheff

Poppa Dawg

Covid has affected every single aspect of my life. Not having work is painful for the obvious reasons such as money and also not being able to earn an income.

Aside from no money the fact is the outlet for my expression dried up. The immediacy and synergy from a live audience just isn't the same in a livestream.

I have been incredible blessed by generosity and thankfully we can still at least do those shows to express ourselves. Opening yourself up to different kinds of writing and music have helped me a lot and I have released a new song during this event. I really miss the guys in the band and the comradery you get from that world. Things have changed and will never be the same so it is time for us to do our best to adapt.

Artists We've Covered

U2 | Rihanna | Brad Paisley | Keith Urban | BB King | Robben Ford | Reba McEntire | Shania Twain | Kris Kristofferson | Santana | Joe Satriana | Steve Vai | Shawn Phillips | Warrant | Paul Brandt | Jack Semple | Johnny Reid | Van Halen | AfroJack | Calvin Harris | A-Trak | George Thorogood | John Mellencamp | Chris Botti | Avicii | Lyle Lovett | Chris Isaak | Journey | Heart | Motley Crue | Sting | Shinedown | Jim Cuddy | Gypsy Kings | LeAnne Rimes | Alan Jackson | Dwight Yoakum | Walk Off The Earth | Ringo Starr | Marianas Trench | Carly Rae Jepsen | Hedley | City And Colour | Don Henley | Billy Idol | Doucette | Harlequin | Trooper | Streetheart | Headpins | Five Finger Death Punch | Pappa Roach | Roger Hodgson | Tom Cochrane | Brett Kissel | Matthew Good | Our Lady Peace | Lamb Of God | Slayer | Jann Arden | Said The Whale | Arkells | Mother Mother | Lord Huron | Al di Meola | Alex Cuba | Lee Ritenour | Barenaked Ladies | Beach Boys | Bill Henderson | Bread Of Stone | Cherine | Chromeo | Delirious? | George Canyon | Gord Bamford | Grace Potter | Guess Who | Howie Mandel | JJ Grey | Jonny Lang | Kenny Rogers | Matchbox Twenty | Newsboys | Randy Travis | Ben Waters Trio | Broken Social Scene | Five Alarm Funk | John Butler Trio | Taj Mahal | Monkey Junk | Blackie & The Rodeo Kings | Stephen Fearing | Robert Randolph | Serena Ryder | Taj Weekes | Daniel Lanois | Bruce Cockburn | Shakura S'Aida | Tommy Castro | Mavis Staples | Canned Heat | Elephant Revival Society | John Oates | Marty Stuart | Royal Southern Brotherhood | Tony McManus | Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle | Colin James | Harry Manx | Martin Simpson | Michael Franti & Spearhead | Rick Vito | The Family Stone | The Lil Smokies | Victor Wooten

- and countless others -