Some Local Musicians Continue to Play Greater Cincinnati Shows But Most Touring Acts Have Postponed Concerts Amid Coronavirus Concern

While some bars and clubs have canceled shows and many touring acts have postponed imminent tour dates, artists like Reverend Horton Heat and Cincinnati's Bob Cushing are defiant that the shows must go on

click to enlarge Some Local Musicians Continue to Play Greater Cincinnati Shows But Most Touring Acts Have Postponed Concerts Amid Coronavirus Concern
Photo: Tijs van Leur

In the wake of coronavirus concerns, recommendations and, in Ohio, mandates over public gatherings, most touring musical acts have canceled imminent tour dates — and sometimes full, lengthy tours. In Greater Cincinnati, it's difficult to find any touring bands or solo acts that haven't at least postponed dates.

Larger venues in Ohio hosting touring artists (including the Taft Theater, Memorial Hall and Heritage Bank Center) announced postponements soon after Gov. Mike DeWine issued orders prohibiting public events with 100 or more people.

Many smaller clubs and bars have remained open… so far — as I'm writing this, reports are surfacing that DeWine is considering ordering bars and restaurants to close. Some local acts have been playing their scheduled gigs, but, along with voluntarily canceled shows, we're also seeing a lot of local musicians posting about losing dates (and income) due to closings or other concerns. It's especially hard on full-time musicians who rely on those shows as their primary source of income. Likewise, closures will likely lead to staff losing income… and possibly their jobs altogether.

We will share info regularly on how to help musicians in the area during the shut-downs and cancelations. Please send me information on efforts to assist any local artists (musical or otherwise) at [email protected].

The economic impact on a lot of touring artists will also be substantial. For now, I highly recommend visiting the websites of artists you love to support them by purchasing downloads and merchandise. Remember, Bandcamp sites are very good in terms of direct payments for downloads and other purchases.

In Northern Kentucky, though the state hasn't issued mandates on gatherings, most concerts by traveling acts have been postponed or canceled, at least for the next few weeks.

Madison Theater/Madison Live in Covington has listed three concerts as postponed, up through April 5's Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real show. Though they have only one show left on their schedule for March, Newport's Thompson House hasn't yet announced any postponements or cancelations.

At Newport's Southgate House Revival, while touring acts like Lost Dog Street Band, The Steel Wheels and White Reaper have postponed their shows (rescheduled dates are pending), local artists have still been performing and local shows remain on the schedule.

One touring band concert at the Southgate House Revival that is still on the schedule is Reverend Horton Heat's April 1 show with fellow artists The Bottle Rockets and Scott H. Biram. And the group is defiant that they won't be canceling any tour dates.

As of this writing, The Bottle Rockets still have the SGHR concert and other shows on their itinerary listed on Facebook. Biram also said he was staying on the road."No Fear/Business As Usual/Wash Your Fuckin’ Hands Tour continues," he wrote on Friday on his Facebook page.

Locally, veteran Cincinnati acoustic artist Bob Cushing has also been defiant about the show(s) going on, putting out a call on Facebook to area bars that he is available to perform.

Yesterday, Cushing wrote: "Any venues out there that would rather not curl up in a ball, and lose your asses financially, keep your doors open and have a place for people to be entertained, especially with NO SPORTS on T.V. I'm your man. The venues I've played, and not been cancelled the past couple of days have had great turn outs!"

Update (3/15/20 5:20 p.m.): Ohio bars are closing, per Gov. Mike DeWine's order. Restaurants, as well.

Update (3/16/20 9:34 a.m.): Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has also ordered all bars and restaurants closed. There will be no IRL live music for the immediate future.