Lockdown online music show connects regional performers and fans craving for live gigs
Lockdown online music show connects regional performers and fans craving for live gigs

While most live gigs remain on hold, a community of regional musicians have banded together through a weekly online interactive show highlighting local talent.

Key points:Jam Orange members host a weekly online music show highlighting acts from Central West NSWThe streamed show allows musicians and fans to share performances while live gigs are on hold due to the pandemicA regional music producer says many artists are using the period to write new songs

Aptly named Lockdown, the show’s host, Emma “Eardrum” Almen, said the program borrowed its format from Australian music television shows such as Countdown.

“I definitely found some inspiration from Molly Meldrum but also Rage — something I used to watch early in the morning when I was younger,” Ms Almen said.

“We came up with this idea because when this isolation happened, there was not going to be any live music and there still isn’t very much of that.”

Streamed on social media every Sunday night, Lockdown is a way for isolated music enthusiasts to interact until live performance restrictions are lifted, she said.

“We can’t wait to have people gigging again, and for a lot of musicians, that’s their livelihood that’s now been taken away from them,” Ms Almen said.

“It’s very hard for a lot of them.”

Connecting regional musiciansAndrew Deasey and Emma Almen compile the online music variety show.(ABC Central West: Luke Wong)

The show is an initiative of Jam Orange, an organisation of musicians and fans who regularly met for performance and social events before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Member and guitarist, Andrew Deasey, volunteers his time to direct and compile each week’s episode which is filmed in his loungeroom.

Musicians of all skill levels are invited to share their video clips and performances from Orange in the Central West region of New South Wales and beyond, he said.

“We wanted to make it more about the Central West so quite a few acts from Bathurst, some come from out at Gooloogong, Canowindra, Cowra, Millthorpe,” Mr Deasey said.

Viewers can vote for their favourite acts and musicians are placed in the running to feature on a compilation album.

Amateur musician, Kathryn Woods, is a regular contributor to the show and says it allows her to discover and connect with other budding artists while staying home.

“They can inspire me and motivate me to be more creative,” she said.

Isolation inspires creativity

Another participant, music producer and audio engineer Craig Honeysett said he was in touch with many artists who were eager to return to the studios and stages.

Craig Honeysett sitting at a music digital audio workstation in studio.Craig Honeysett says musicians have used the lockdown period to work on original songs.(ABC Central West: Luke Wong)

“The musicians I’ve been talking to have been writing; they’re excited to get back to gigging,” he said.

Mr Honeysett said the absence of live entertainment has made audiences more aware of the importance music played in regional venues.

“When it all comes back, creativity is going to continue to increase, and I think fans are going go out and want to engage with the artist a lot more.”

Meanwhile, back at the Lockdown couch, viewers are responding positively, and the program may continue even after regular gigs return.

“[We’ll] just keep the show evolving as the times change and see what happens,” Mr Deasey said.

“Once we are out of this, go out and enjoy some music,” Ms Almen said.

Lockdown streams on the Jam Orange Facebook page every Sunday from 6:00pm.