In Focus: Music Venues Across New York State

It’s been over a year since music venues had to shut down, and signs of life are starting to be seen this spring. With the passage of the COVID relief bill, which provides $15 billion for music venues across the country, small businesses are able to breathe a sigh of relief. Warm weather allows outdoor venues, both new and old, to utilize space to accommodate socially distanced shows while we wait for the country to get vaccinated and infection rates to subside

arlene's grocery music venues
photo by Joseph Buscarello

Looking back on the February installment of this photo series, we can see the seasons changing and venues coming to life, if not getting a facelift. By the time we bring you the next edition, we hope to see fans in the crowd and venues back to business, with a greener summer to come.

A list has been circulating on Facebook recently, one well worth sharing. As you check out the current state of venues across New York State, courtesy of NYS Music’s photography team, consider these rules moving forward for the post-pandemic live music scenes across New York and the country.

RULE #1: No guest list. Don’t ask. Not now. Not ever. Everyone in the live music industry has been out of work for 13 months and we all need your support now more than ever. Buy the damn ticket.

Rochester – photos by Corinne Cummings

RULE #2: Support local. Before you buy that high priced ticket to see that big name artist at that big corporate venue, consider putting that money back into your own community. This is the best way to ensure that a thriving arts & culture scene will return to cities across America.

Ithaca – photos by Casey Martin

RULE #3: Wear a damn mask. If you’re going to a show, tiny cloth go over mouth & nose. Period. Vaccinated? Don’t care. Already had it? Don’t care. Rona is a hoax? Also don’t care. We only get one shot at restarting this machine. Please don’t be the one that messes it up.

New York City – photos by Joseph Buscarello

RULE #4: We are not babysitters. We get it. Social distancing sucks. Masks suck. You’re tired of washing your hands. After more than a year of isolation, all you wanna do is lean in close and spew your spittle on friends and strangers alike. But it’s been 13 months. You know the rules by now — please follow them.

Buffalo – photos by Zachary Todtenhagen

RULE #5: No free drinks. Don’t ask. Venues have been shutdown for 13 months waiting for this moment. Support them.

Utica – photo courtesy of The Stanley Theatre

music venues

RULE #6: Tip your bartender. 20% is ok. 25% is better. More than 25% is best. Anything under 20% is a non-starter.

Brooklyn – photos by Steve Malinski

RULE #7: Support the scene. Can’t make the show? No problem. It costs $0.00 to support us in other ways. Share the posts. Listen to the music. Invite your friends to the event page. In order for this to work, we need all hands on deck.

The Hudson Valley – photos by Mickey Deneher

RULE #8: Be kind. Look — it’s been awhile. We’re gonna be a little rusty. Plus, so much of what needs to happen in order to bring back live music safely is new for all of us — fans, venues, promoters and artists alike. There will be hiccups. There will be lines. There will be unforeseen circumstances. Be nice anyway.

Plattsburgh – photos by Jerry Cadieux

RULE #9: Go to the merch table. Support the artists. Buy the t-shirt. Buy a sticker.

Syracuse – photos by Josh Davis

RULE #10: Have fun. You’ve been waiting for this moment for more than -fully. Come out early. Stay out late. Dance. Laugh. Make a new friend. Discover a new band.

Albany photographer Zach Culver went on a road trip this month and shares his photos of venues in Denver, CO and Las Vegas, NV.

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