New restrictions on live music hurt both venues and performers

Sportsmen's Tavern Show 0820
Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 17:40:31-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Local venues and local musicians alike already have the reopening blues: both of them rely on crowds. But the new restrictions from the governor's office tie their hands behind their backs.

"A club uses a musician or a band to draw people to the club, to eat and all that," local musician Michael Hund said. "So you can't do that now."

"If I'm operating for free, it's okay," Sportsmen's Tavern co-owner Jason Hall said. "But if I sell a ticket, that somehow spreads COVID-19? It doesn't make any sense."

Hall and some other local venue owners can fall back on drinks and food for their business; they've at least been operating at that capacity for a few months. But more music-specific venues are in almost as much of a bind as musicians.

"Performing is what we have to do to sell merchandise, CDs, and make a living," Hund said. "So if we can't perform, 90% of musicians in the whole country, which is 12 million musicians, are out of work."

The 50-person gathering limit also restricts the use of the outdoor space at Sportsmen's. However, at 50% capacity in their restaurant, they can have more people inside for a tips-only show than they could outside.