Big Island Music Report: May 4


It’s been nearly two months since the Big Island’s music venues stopped offering live entertainment due to the health/safety restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some venues that also offered food and beverages have switched over to take out services. Adapting to these unusual times, some music fans are accepting livestreaming performances as the new normal until venues reopen. When that happens, we might see limited capacity shows with patrons wearing face masks and sitting a good distance apart from each other.

Julia and Joanie Brotman

On Saturday, May 2, the Hawaii Songwriting Festival announced it will be canceling its annual music conference scheduled for July 23-25, 2020. Via a Facebook video, Joanie and Julia Brotman, board members of the festival, said they’d considering moving the event to the fall, but in light of safety concerns, this year’s conference is canceled. “We don’t know when we will have an in-person conference again,” said Julia Brotman, “but we’ll keep talking to folks and see what happens.” HSF is suggesting those currently registered and who have hotel reservations, should sign up for a newsletter that will have instructions about receiving a refund. There was mention of virtual sessions and other programs in the works.

The Hawaii Performing Arts Festival gave its fans a sneak peek at their upcoming virtual festival, running from July 6-19, 2020. Details were announced in a YouTube video seen here. HPAF’s 2020 season will include 14 free concerts, master classes, and special events, presented by faculty, alumni, and guest artists. All events will be free and accessible via a Zoom webcast.

Sage Sound Musicians Lounge offered its second virtual concert this weekend and it featured Ronnie V and Shaun Elise from The Family Band. The rehearsal space/recording studio accepted donations for the event via their website: The venue said the donations will be converted into studio hours for our local musicians. Sage Sounds Musicians Lounge is located at 79-7401 Mamalahoa Highway in Kainaliu.

The Prince Dance Theatre (PDT) offered a free livestreaming event on Saturday titled Zoom Out. In a Facebook post, PDT described the production’s futuristic theme as being set 1111 years in the future. “The world is a very different place post-COVID-19. Universal harmony reigns supreme and light beings have gathered together on this anniversary date to celebrate the ‘Great Shift’ that began in the year 2020.” Viewers were required to download Zoom software to view the event, and the audience was limited to 100 participants.

The presentation featured dancers, singers, actors, and aerialists from the Prince Dance Institute who offered their appreciation for art, humanity, and lessons learned. PDT, a nonprofit, accepted tax-deductible donations for their show via PayPal.

The Hilo Palace Theatre has started a fundraising campaign called S.O.S. (Support Our Survival). On social media, Bruce McCutcheon, Secretary of the Palace Theater’s board of directors, asked for donations to help keep the venue operational. “Without the ability to gather for events, the theater is left without a steady stream of income to sustain minimal operations,” McCutcheon said. “We currently face roughly $15,000 of monthly bills, and not enough money in the bank to ensure our theater will be able to reopen when it is safe to do so. Our ‘S.O.S. Supporting Our Survival’ Campaign is live, and we’ve already heard from some of you, our heroes.”

McCutcheon explained the campaign’s financial goal is to raise $30,000 in donations and acquire 30 new monthly donors. The $30,000 will provide operating funds for 2+ months while the theater is dark, and 30 new monthly donors will help sustain their operations for years to come. The theatre has set up a donation page, and contributions can be made here. The venue is also taking part in the Giving Tuesday Now event (May 5, 2020,), a global day of giving and unity as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

The theatre featured the second edition of its Live From The Empty Palace video series and featured singer/songwriter Trill LeBeau, frontman of Cosmic Serenity, with an acoustic performance of his original song “If I Aim To Keep Us.”

Featured image: Hannah Busing


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