Musicians slowly performing live gigs again outdoors

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Musicians who had their shows cancelled at the start of the pandemic are slowly performing live again. Many of them booking gigs at outdoor venues.

In downtown Livermore, on the outdoor patio of Monica’s Restaurant, there’s a vibe, a sound that lot of people have been missing for months.

"It’s been well over a year," said Christine Bearden of Livermore. "I know for me it’s been since last March, I’ve not been out to hear live music," said Cindy Hamer of Livermore.

The return of live music is back with a live performer. This time wearing a mask.

"It’s a little difficult than without but it's better than not performing at all," said East Bay Singer/Songwriter Michelle Lambert.

Thursday’s gig is one of the first live events in a long time for Lambert. She calls performing in front of a crowd a light at the end of the tunnel. She spent the last few months recording and writing music. This gig is just the beginning.

"They are slowly starting to roll in," said Lambert. "Some of them are very last minute. I’m getting a lot of summer events confirmed already."

"I think I speak for all musicians when I say we will play just about anywhere," said Silicon Valley Multi-Instrumentalist Casey Wickstrom.

Wickstrom performed at a winery in Carmel on Valentine’s Day. The multi-instrumentalist and blues looping artist from Silicon Valley said it’s less about the money but getting back into the rhythm of playing live again. He said he missed the human connection the most. He taught more guitar and drum lessons and livestreamed music to survive.

"It was really a struggle," said Wickstrom. "I think the only benefit, it just gave me a deeper appreciation of how important live music and art in general really is."

"I think everybody is really jazzed to get out and music obviously plays to everybody's soul," said Monica’s Owner Monica Barajas.

Barajas said live performances have increased foot traffic at dinner time. She’s booking more musicians to keep the arts pulse beating.

"I think supporting live music is an important part of our community," said Barajas.

"The arts is so important and I think we realize that now more than ever because it's been taken away from us," said Wickstrom.

Both musicians are tentatively optimistic expecting to play outdoors for a while, unsure when indoor shows will return.