On the eve of Thanksgiving, Living The Fest Life had the opportunity to get our first taste of live music in months. I drove to down to Virginia Beach for Kendall Street Company’s fifth annual version of their Thanksgiving extravaganza – The Turkey Jam. This year, the band added a second performance, hitting the stage at Elevation 27 on back to back nights. We have talked about Kendall Street Company before – a few months back we shared a piece focusing on the group’s creative efforts at continuing to engage with fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can check out that story here, for some more background info.
Going out to a music venue in the middle of the pandemic might seem like a surprising thing to do. But KSC and the venue took this event very seriously. The show was seated, with guests assigned to a socially-distant space to sit and enjoy the show (moving around for any reason but to use the restroom was discouraged). KSC is committed to cautiously planning shows and approving the COVID plans – for example, Elevation 27 invested in hospital-grade air purifiers in the weeks before the show, helping Kendall Street Company to be comfortable and excited to be a part of an entertainment space that is going the extra mile to try and safely host shows. Groups of 4-8 people were given the opportunity to purchase tables in advance, and the venue was super serious about their social distancing measures. In addition to the details above, they also provided table service, had a strong mask policy, and really kept the venue feeling safe.
On to the fun part, the band performed tons of fun music, including songs from their recent album, (released Oct 23, 2020), as well as fan favorites, and festive holiday covers. One of their press releases described their show as being a place where “any one of their songs could easily turn from a fun sing-along to a cacophonous head banging garage-rock soundscape, before filially resolving into a peaceful ambience.” I can firmly vouch that this is absolutely the best description possible of the jammiest of nights.
Seriously people . . . they really got creative – there was even a turkey themed cover of Wonderwall (“and after all you’re my butterball” in case you were wondering how that could work). Even in a pandemic the group had the purposely small, socially distanced crowd jamming and having a blast.
From a media perspective, it was also a unique experience to attend and cover a concert during the pandemic. I was very careful and cautious about taking pictures and staying in my seat and just overall trying to navigate the new COVID social norms. It was an experience that I am really glad that I got to have.
So, you may wonder, what took me so long to write about this? The answer is both everything and nothing. In all seriousness though, I think that it is important to consider this awesome night as part of a bigger picture. I promise not to get too serious here – but let’s give this a go.
After feeling pretty melancholy about the live music and festival landscape for months, I think this night really made me see that there is hope. Committed bands like KSC and venues like Elevation 27 are not going to give up on finding ways to engage with fans. And . . . it can feel really safe and fun, even if it is much different than what things looked like pre-pandemic. Even if this thing continues to stick around for awhile, I think that we can find comfort in the innovative ways live music can still be a part of our lives. I got a little sappy thinking about that during the show that night and really wondered how I could portray the sense of hope I felt for much of my drive home.
Although it may take more creativity and be a little harder to find, there are still tons of live (or virtual) music options available to fans. Kendall Street Company is a great example of that. They are prolific tourers and performers – averaging more than 100 shows a year. And they have worked hard to continue their connection to fans throughout the pandemic. They are our current fave – but they aren’t the only artists out there doing this.
So many performers are connecting through virtual shows on various social media platforms and other groups are putting together full scale virtual festivals. We have had the opportunity to “attend” a series of virtual festivals put together by Brownies and Lemonade and Proximity – in which literally 100s of artists came together to perform live sets in festival formats. The point of all this rambling is that there are live music opportunities out there. And here at Living The Fest Life we are committed in this new year to trying to be just as innovative and creative in our coverage. Working to bring more ways to connect our followers to music.
2020 was freaking rough. It got us down and it probably kicked us a little while we were there. But there are so many ways we can connect to music and our festival family while we wait for the world to hopefully get back to something resembling normal. We are going to take the vibes and all the good feels we got from the KSC show and use that awesome energy to reinvigorate our new year efforts at music coverage.
Hang in there festy fam! Look out for new fun stuff coming from us soon and keep an eye out for more shows from Kendall Street Company.
For more information Kendall Street Company, visit https://www.kendallstreetcompany.com/
You can also check them out on social media using the links below: