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Musician reflects on COVID pandemic surge and the industry going forward

Artists Battling the Great Unknown
musician
Posted at 9:09 AM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 10:27:06-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — Being a local musician is challenging enough. You're not sure if that date you scheduled will actually come to pass. How do they handle it? How do they keep themselves going when it's an air of uncertainty everywhere?

"Gotta a new song for you, goes well with the times," says longtime musician and promoter Chris Foreman, as he walks onto the stage at Lafayette's Grouse Room. He strums guitar, then sings. "I got the shelter in place, put a mask on your face, Covid-19 coronavirus blues!!"

"You know, music-wise, yeh, immediately when everything shut down, we couldn't play anywhere," explains Foreman, reflecting on the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. "So, you know, how do we make money? I don't know yet," he ends with a laugh.

When musicians like Foreman take the stage during the pandemic, there's always the possibility that this performance, might be their last for a while. "Yeh, the up-and-down of it, really is a mental challenge, to try to keep yourself just motivated."

And then there's the matter of having places to play. For Flint Zerangue, Jr. of the Grouse Room, the on-again, off-again of performances, hasn't made his job the least bit easier.

"When we're not sure what rules we'll have to abide by in the future, it makes my job a little bit more difficult," says Zerangue. "Additionally, when I have bands coming in from out of town, it's hard for me to tell them that they don't have a gig anymore."

The fluidity of the pandemic has created quite the musical conundrum and Foreman, who also provides bands for various festivals, doesn't quite know what to tell anyone, including himself.

"Now, I'm just waiting for the next phase to come through and, are we going to have Mardi Gras? Because that's a big one for me. And again, the Boudin Festival in April."

That being said, Foreman is has somewhat begrudgingly decided to wait it out and be positive that things will eventually change for the better.

"Yeh, what's going to happen? I don't know, but what can you do about it?"

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