By Tommy Acosta
Sedona, AZ (March 26, 2020) Thursday, March 19 will always be for me the day music died in Sedona, for that is the day every Sedona restaurant was shut down by the State and the Sedona city government
As a musician who once depended playing live to make ends meet, my heart breaks for the working musicians of Sedona, now without gigs thanks to the shut down of the venues they once performed in.
I was fortunate to have had employment later in life that allowed me to play, without music as my main income. For the working musicians of Sedona the shut down is devastating. These musicians made our lives that much better, sharing their talents with us as we wined and dined in the many restaurants featuring live music in Sedona.
Now, the chairs in restaurants and bars are empty. There is nowhere to go to enjoy live music. The musicians have lost their incomes. Sedona has lost its nightlife.
Seeing this happen is like watching a television screen turn grey when it once was brilliant and colorful.
What can we do to help? To bring music back to Sedona?
We can’t congregate in numbers more than ten. All the venues are closed so there is nowhere left to play inside.
There are no tourists so there is no sense busking along the streets of Uptown Sedona.
There is the Internet. Perhaps musicians can put on regular shows through a special Website created to host their performances?
We, as their audience, can use our cards to opt in for those performances. The money goes to paying the musicians.
It’s an idea but who out there can make something like this happen?
It’s a dark shadow settling over Sedona. The pain of the working musicians mirrors the pain of the hospitality workers now on the brink of desperation.
There is the pain of parents at home with their children who are staring starvation in the face because they can’t work.
Some Sedona residents, those who are comfortable, retired, living in homes with fully stocked provisions, might actually be happy with the lack of traffic, etc.
Their only worry, really, is staying healthy through the quarantines. They are safe as long as they limit social contact, etc. When it passes, they have their wealth and security to fall back on.
But for the working musicians, laid-off hospitality workers and small-business owners it’s a nightmare.
With no tourists in town Sedona could become a graveyard of hopes and dreams if there is no quick and lasting recovery… a very distinct possibility.
Most importantly, our government, local, statewide and national, must make sure people have food to eat.
There cannot be a break down in deliveries and those who can’t afford food because they have no work or cannot work because there is no one able to take care of the kids, need support, financial as well as physical.
Bailing out the big guys may for a day slow down the stock market plunge but people who would fight each other for food if things got bad enough, need that money more.
With law enforcement most likely affected by the virus as well, police will be forced to only respond to emergencies if too many cops get sick.
Law and order may be a thing of the past. I hope our city council in their planning for the worst, has taken that possibility into consideration.
Citizens may have to band together and deal directly with the criminal element should it seek to gain rule over our community.
Nothing could have prepared us for this. Who could have imagined the chaos and fear this virus has caused, threatening to get exponentially worse as the dark days tick by.
Even the idea of holding a public meeting at City Hall cannot fly because of crowd restrictions.
Our voices are not heard by our elected officials. Nor can we hear directly what they have to say. “We the people” are closed out.
We are as separated as we ever could be by the restrictions. We are cut-off from our own government.
So how do we stay in touch? How can the people work together with our local government to save our city and lives?
Obviously the Internet and our local media! Here lies the platform through which we the people can unite and work together to motivate our elected officials to act upon what’s in our best interest, with our input.
Share your concerns in Sedona.biz, Facebook and the other social media outlets out there — even The Red Rock News. Read. Participate. Educate.
The healing of Sedona could only be accomplished by a city-wide effort of citizens and government banding together for our future.
Let’s find a way to get our music back. Let’s get creative.
We musicians who give our lives full-time to entertaining you need your help. Help us by keeping our restaurants going, especially we locals. If we can keep our restaurants going by ordering take-out until this is over then we musicians will have places to play again and we can get back to our jazz and rock ‘n’ roll.
How about a mini-concert, free of charge, then pass the hat around?
A kinda glorified busking?
Nothing to lose by so doing and who knows where it might lead?
Wishing y’all well,
Great article, Tommy!
Wish unemployment would extend to the self-employed gig worker!
It’s a shame there is no unemployment for the working musicians. Perhaps once this crisis is over we can move to have gig-venue owners create one.
WE are all in shock… at this global situation… Love you all and hope we are clear and clean soon… Cheers, L
Jeanie and everyone else…..Under normal circumstances, those of us self employed, gig workers, 1099’ers….musicians, artists, lyft/uber drivers, therapists, dental hygienists, etc…..would not be entitled to any unemployment benefits since you’re not a W-2 employee….BUT>>>>and it’s a big one…becuase of the virus, the government is offering benefits to the ‘gig worker/self employed through July 31st..perhaps longer. Each state has an upper limit of benefits weekly and the Feds are adding $600 to that weekly amount….not to be confused with social security if you get that or increases in that should that happen or the stimulus $1200 per person….so…..go to the AZ dept of whatever ….Employment Opportunity or whatever it’s called….fill out a form on line or print one out and mail it in. Penalties are steep every where for being dishonest so just tell the truth as far as gross income, maybe based on 2019 and then January 2020….
I’ve done mine here in FL…since I’m out of work musically and construction wise….Could be weeks before I see a dime since millions are out of work in FL at the moment and the state site is crashing continually….Some states offering retroactive….hope this is helpful…..stay safe, stay healthy…..haven’t left my house in a month…Take care everyone.
OK…part 2…Those of us who remember the music scene say in 2000 and what happened after the ’06-08 recession….fewer places, less money, fewer nights, musicians moved away or tried Prescott, Williams, PHX, etc….I believe we’re in real danger here because with venues empty for say 2-3 months…..no revenue, rent to pay, overhead, hotels empty, no tourists, the airBnB issue later on …might be a worse music scene than what we had last fall….Dec and Jan are usually pretty slow so to add EMPTY restaurants for 3 months to the equation could be a death sentence for some hanging on by a thread before this Covid-19 happened….I feel for the entire community of self employed…I’ve been self employed since 1984 and some months can be really bad….Check out the AZ site and see if it’s been updated to include the gig work crowd….My 3 cents.