Dear Local Entertainers,

I have never been so appreciative of live music as I have been these past few months. Perhaps I was spoiled or even jaded to the fact that I could watch live music at almost any venue in SWLA and SETX. When it was taken away, I began to realize how precious you truly are.

You show up and play to a crowd of five or 500, but act like each crowd is the biggest one you have ever seen. Sure, you get paid, but most of the time, the money you take in barely covers gas to get to the venue for you or your entire band. You get asked to play every charity event under the sun for free or just for tips.

Suddenly, you were stripped of that ability to play music to the public. You were stripped of that ability to entertain people. The main reason most of you got into this business was taken away from you. People who perhaps relied on you playing that one song that would help them escape for just a few minutes from a horrible day they'd had needed that one song to remind them of a better time in their lives or even about someone they love sitting right next to them. As you're escaping on stage doing what you love, those people are out there escaping in their own ways.

Here we are in Phase Two of getting back to normal, and I hate even using that term. Some places can have live music all they want, some have to be in a certain area, and others just outside, or they have this certain license so it's fine to have a band. There are a limited number of these venues that can have any sort of live music. It might seem that the rules set in place do not apply the same to others as they do to some. That's just the way the world works sometimes. Is it fair? Probably not.

Now, some of you rely on these gigs to pay your bills. I also understand that completely. I heavily relied on the money coming in to MC some of these shows you play for. It's a tough situation to be in, seeing someone playing an event or venue, and you get angry they are playing and you are not. We are human; it happens. Take a second, perhaps, and put yourself in their shoes. That little gig might put some gas in their tank to get to another job. It might be just enough to pay a bill to keep their cell phone on. No, I am not a musician. I have been blessed with a full-time job this entire time. However, it's the mindset I am focusing on trying to have. I have plenty of friends who do what I do, and they have already begun to go back to work in their areas. It made me angry at first. I got jealous and wanted to scream, "You can't do that!"

Instead, what I should have been doing and thinking this entire time is to support them. Support and encourage your fellow brothers and sisters in music during this time. It might just turn around and be good for you down the road.

To sum this soapbox speech of a rant up, as you read this, regardless if you are back to playing even a single gig or not, understand you are important to us all. You have fans, friends, and family ready to see you play. They are ready to put money in your tip bucket. They are ready to annoy you while you play for them. They are ready to follow you and support the venues you are playing at. You have a place. You are missed. You are loved, and you will be back.

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