Wyoming musicians are bringing live music to homes around the state during weekly concerts that are set to run through the spring.
Home Fest, organized by Wyoming Singer-Songwriters, is scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m. Thursdays on Facebook. Starting in May, the weekly event will switch to Friday evenings.
Jon Gardzelewski, who founded Wyoming Singer-Songwriters about six years ago, said Home Fest was inspired by an online mini-festival he organized several weeks ago. More musicians than he expected were willing to participate.
“I realized there are more people who want to a play, and it seemed like there was a pretty appreciative audience out there,” he said.
Home Fest gives Wyoming musicians an opportunity to perform during a time when live performances have become non-existent.
“It’s giving a lot of these musicians a chance to keep playing and keep having audiences,” he said.
The lineup for April 30 includes Joey Detrick, Rob Joyce, Quinn Cerovski and Jaisikka Nada. On May 8, look for Bill Brizuela, Sharon Martinson and Nick Oceanic.
Gardzelewski said he’s keeping the production on Facebook because users of the social media platform can sometimes encounter live events while scrolling through their news feed and might stop to check them out.
Meanwhile, Wyoming Singer-Songwriters is also sponsoring the Lockdown Songwriting Challenge, with a May 9 deadline. Artists are invited to submit a video recording of themselves performing a song inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and surrounding events. Gardzelewski is offering prizes and planning a special performance for the songs.
“There’s no real requirement except that it’s something that has been written in the last month, that is influenced by, or relates to, or describes these times we are in,” he said.
The process is partly a way to test how well musicians are able to make digital submissions in case the annual summer singer-songwriter competition is forced to go online.
“We are waiting a little bit to make a decision,” he said. “Regardless, the competition will be happening at the end of summer.”
Gardzelewski said the pandemic and resulting event cancellations have forced musicians to learn new technology for recording and streaming their music.
“It’s the only you have to perform, so it’s forcing you to learn some skills that are going to be useful anyway,” he said.
The non-profit Wyoming Singer-Songwriter organization sponsors an annual competition as well as occasional live events and recordings as a way to allow local musicians to push themselves artistically and find new audiences for their work. The competition started as a Laramie event before growing to include the whole state.