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Thursday, June 4 Entertainment

Blues Beat: Coronavirus impact hits music scene

This week’s Blues Beat is not the usual promotion of the great entertainment offered by the blues; rather it acknowledges the health concerns due to the spread of the COVID-19. As the column is being written, many events and club gigs have been canceled and more are anticipated. Because of the uncertainty, the Blues Schedule will not be published this week.

Events are being canceled at venues large and small. Some clubs are putting entertainment off through the end of March, and others the end of April.

If you plan to go out, it is best to check to make sure it hasn’t been postponed. With that in mind, the Blues Schedule associated with Blues Beat, is on hold until the time things get back to normal. Visit old schedules to look up club phone numbers. See blog address below.

One organization that was hard hit was the Connecticut Blues Society. Two of its major events are being hit. President Ed Stack writes, “I regret to inform you that the CTBS Band Challenge is cancelled for 2020. Bringing together a large group of people for a musical competition would place our blues fans at risk. The virus is gaining momentum and there is no accurate information on when the epidemic will slow down. CTBS appreciates your support and hopes you will understand our position to protect the health of our family, friends, members, musicians and venues.

Ed Stack, in coordination with Louise Psaras (Manager / Permitee at the VFW) also alerted blues fans that the CTBS Blues Blizzard, scheduled for March 28 is being postponed, to protect Blues Society members, families, friends, musicians and the many blues fans who normally fill the VFW in West Hartford, from COVID-19.

The governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, have ordered that no gatherings will be allowed with more than 50 people. All casinos, gyms and movie theaters were to close at 8 p.m. March 16.

Gov. Lamont will also close the state's physical off-track betting facilities and are urging the tribal casinos in their states to close. Restaurants and bars were expected to also close at 8 p.m. on Monday. Take-out services was to still be available.

Meriden’s 42nd annual Daffodil Festival is canceled, in light of the governor's ban on large gatherings through April 30, the city announced Friday afternoon. Blues Beat has always considered the Daffodil Festival as the start of the state’s festival season.

City Manager Tim Coon made the decision to cancel the festival after meeting Friday with Health Director Lea Crown and Parks and Recreation Director Chris Bourdon. The cancellation, Coon said, includes the annual tag sale and 5K road race held the weekend before the city’s premier event, which was scheduled for April 26-27 in Hubbard Park.

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Thursday banning gatherings of 250 people or more through April 30 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Daffodil Festival has attracted more than 50,000 people to Hubbard Park in recent years, including people from all over Connecticut and other states.

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Infinity Hall sent out the following: “In light of the state's response to COVID-19 we are working tirelessly to reschedule all upcoming shows within the next 30 days. Please be patient with us as we email ticket purchasers directly once new dates are confirmed. Below is a list of shows that have already been rescheduled. Please stay tuned as there will be more rescheduled dates to come. We appreciate your understanding as our team works together to keep the music alive!”

Other venues such as the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, The Bijou Theatre, the Ridgefield Playhouse and Black-Eyed Sally’s are moving shows to a later date. Some of the smaller venues are also cutting shows. Clubs and musicians are being hit as well as the COVID-19 has us taking a cautious approach to large gatherings.

In a statement, The Blues Foundation said it “recognizes that you may have questions about our operations. For now, we are continuing operations as usual, with added precautions to keep our staff and our community safe. The Blues Foundation wanted blues fans to know that with the Blues Music Awards still two months away and no crystal ball to predict where things will be, come May, plans for the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Blues Music Awards are proceeding as usual with all intentions for these events to occur as scheduled May 6-7 in Memphis. Tickets are still available for purchase at blues.org and discounted hotel rooms can be reserved through a direct link on our website, as well.

While the entertainment hiatus goes on, perhaps one way to help is to purchase some of their music. Go to their websites and check out what they have to offer.

One event at the International Blues Challenge is Women in Blues. Jennifer Blankenship has put together a Women in Blues list on Spotify called Bluesmamas. Share away and help all these amazing Women in Blues be heard. Celebrating the women who provided a foundation for the genre and who are breaking ground to keep the music alive and current

As schedules and times change, it is good practice to call the club and confirm. Get the complete Blues Beat schedule on Thursday at the blog http://bluesbeatnews.wordpress.com Any questions or comments should be sent to Domenic Forcella at TWBlus@aol.com.