OAKLAND, Calif. - At Yoshi's in Oakland, no names of musical artists appear on the marquee any more. Inside, the theater is empty.
And equally as sad, the stage is silent.
It's been like this since the earliest days of the COVID-19 shutdown in March. Yoshi's is struggling to keep going.
"We need some help. We are trying to get through this," says general manager Hal Campos.
It's gotten so challenging that Yoshi's has started a GoFundMe campaign. It is hoping to raise $200,000, ust to basically keep the lights on.
"It's really sad. It breaks my heart. The founders have put everything they have into this business. Myself and other employees love this place," says Campos
Yoshi's is one of the most well-known music venues in the Bay Area. It attracts musicians from around the world.
"We even had Stevie Wonder having his birthday party here," Campos said.
One Oakland musician who has played Yoshi's many times is hip-hop artist Kev Choice, who also brings a jazz and an R&B flavor to his sound.
"Them having to go to GoFundMe is telling of where the support of our venues and our art scene is lacking, and what we need," he says.
Since the pandemic, the Uptown Nightclub in Oakland has closed permanently. So has the Starline Social Club and Slim's in San Francisco.
Oakland's Fox Theater is just barely hanging on.
"We are going to go a whole year without a single penny of ticket revenue which is unheard of," says general manager Tony Leong.
Leong also heads the East Bay Venue Coalition, where about 20 theaters and clubs have joined forces to fight for any funds that can sustain them.
"A lot of our members say they are going bankrupt," he says.
That is the big concern for musicians. When the pandemic ends, what stages will still be standing?
"We are going to be performing on street corners when this is all over. And nobody wants to go to that space," says Choice.