Best of NYS Music 2020: Best Streams

Best of 2020 finds The Beacon Jams on the headline for threefold: It took the podium for ‘Best Streaming Series’, ‘Best Charitable Effort,’ and outstanding audience interaction. While we didn’t expect much from such a painstaking year, one thing remains true: music always prevails. The Beacon Jams and Trey also came up countless times in other Best Of categories.

Best of 2020: Overall Streaming Series

The Beacon Jams earns the Best of 2020 Streaming series, an eight-week residency featuring acoustic and electric performances from Trey Anastasio, with bonus content and audience interaction. New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre took this on as its first ever virtual residency. Anastasio performed every Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET from October 9, and concluded November 27. The effort streamed exclusively on Twitch.

With Trey’s name attached, it is hard to believe anything would fall short of ‘Best of.’ Trey is an all-in type of musician, despite being reluctant to create anything virtual. His leap of faith: The Beacon Jams.

Trey calls The Beacon home. With countless performances at the theatre it was a natural choice. After a crazy two years of touring Anastasio didn’t think live-streaming was necessary. Times changed and he was still creating, with the July release of Lonely Trip, as well as prerecorded SummerStage Jubilee performance and a Jimmy Fallon appearance. While the mass of energy (people) in a live performance is hard to match, Trey was not disappointed with the reaction from The Beacon Jams. In fact, it was overwhelming and inspiring. “I don’t know if I want to play without our community with me,” but we we’re right Trey. We’re right here.

So much of my work is about getting out of my own way, rather than fighting toward something. The work is to not mess up what already exists. There’s a tsunami of energy happening, and my mind is the impediment.” 

Trey Anastasio – Homing Beacon, Relix interview
Best of 2020: Charitable Effort From a Streaming Series

In true Anastasio fashion, there is always a charity or greater good in mind. With The Beacon Jams, there were two: The WaterWheel Foundation and Divided Sky Fund (DSF). Since 1997 Phish and WaterWheel have been raising money for those in need via touring, while The Divided Sky Fund focuses more on delivering quality care and compassionate treatment for those suffering form alcoholism and addiction. Likewise, all net profit from The Beacon Jams merchandise sales went directly to DSF.

The Divided Sky Fund crushed their initial goal of $150,000. As the organization inched towards its benchmark with mass fan-donations under $100, large sums (upwards of $15,000) and merchandise sales currently raised over $422,000 dollars. This is again feat in itself, especially during times where fans may have had little money to spend. Anastiaso set the bar high, gave back, and instigated this generous giving-tree lifecycle.

You can still donate to DSF and aide The Beacon Jams’ efforts via Paypal HERE. Not only is your donation visible, but you can feature a public note or inspiration. A $20.00 donation is auto-populated, but amounts of any kind are more than generous, and can be marked anonymous. They are very close to their new $450,000 goal.

My hope is that this fund can touch many lives with positive support for addiction recovery. Thank you so much for music each Friday. It became something my girlfriend and I looked forward to every week.

Chris Strohm – Comments after Donating to DSF
Best Of 2020: Stream For Audience Interaction

Twenty-twenty was an odd-egg, but Anastasio opened a Beacon Jam set with “Corona,” interjecting a bit of comic-relief. Music lovers found happiness in all live stream series. It made light of a crude reality around us and social detachment. Livestreams sucked us back into how music should be: a constant, ever-changing dialogue between musicians, instruments and the fans.

Other Streaming Series in 2020

Other streaming series were hot on NYS Music’s Best of list from Umphrey’s Mcgee, Aqueous, Goose’s Bingo Tour, Dinner and a Movie, Lotus, Noon Chorus, The Talking Dead and multiple mentions of moe. Share your favorite streams of 2020 with NYS Music.

Syracuse beat-driven psychedelic jam band, Vaporeyes, took their own flair to a livestream series via Facebook. With over a dozen episodes and a November album release, Cantrips, the band took advantage of live streams to the fullest.

Catch up on Vaporeyes’ live streams via Facebook

Heavy hitters moe. rolled with the punches after their drive-in series was shut down due to COVID-19 concerns. The band fired back with a live studio stream from Big Blue, and a saucy full length album stream from The Palace Theatre lobby. If you missed it, you missed out. Click play and get taken away with soaring vocals and unmistaken live-concert energy.

Red Rocks is magical in its own regard. Add a trippy light-show and cosmic jam band, and well, you see where this is going. Lotus dominated a livestream in two sets and you didn’t have to leave your couch. The 4K livestream sucked us into production. Lotus released Free Swim, a 10-track album on 2xLP Vinyl in August, paired with this event at the Ampitheater as we closed out September.

Make sure you check out all of your favorite bands and support them during these, still, turbulent times. Stay updated with NYS Music as your #1 source for all things music across New York State and beyond. The Best of 2020 is just beginning. And we promise, once we recap we’ll leave it where it belongs – dead in the past. Thank you to live stream series for keeping us alive.

Check out photos from The Beacon Jams by Jake Silco
beacon theatreBest of 2020Best Of SeriesDivided Sky FundTrey Anastasiowaterwheel foundation