For those who are missing live local entertainment, two women are putting together an online festival called GHoodstock, a safe public outlet for Harbor bands and other talent.
Deb Blecha and Tiea Vaughn got the idea from Sequester Fest, which happened last weekend in Missoula, Montana. That 12-hour live-stream music marathon was organized in response to the temporary closure of live music venues. They were so impressed by the concept that they decided to launch it here.
“It was just an idea yesterday morning, and now, here we are,” Deb Blecha said on Monday. “It’ll be all the fun of Woodstock, except you’re not outside camping in the rain!”
They are scheduling 20- to 60-minute slots for this weekend through a Facebook event page hosted by Aberdeen 98520 with support from Blecha’s company, Graphically Deb. Performers will be responsible for their own live-streams, providing links to viewers through the Facebook page.
“Some people have really cool equipment, and some just have their phones,” said Blecha. “We’ll do the best we can!”
The current plan is to live-stream acts on Saturday from noon to midnight and on Sunday starting at 9 a.m., Blecha said.
They hope to offer more than just music. In addition to local bands, the duo would like to inject other forms of family-friendly entertainment into the mix.
“It would be fun to see people with trained dogs, or dancers, or comedians, for example. We’re constantly updating the concept, allowing the public to say what they want it to be,” said Blecha, adding that Sunday slots could even be reserved by churches for virtual services.
She and Vaughn have been contacting potential participants since Sunday, including local performers as well as some who have roots on the Harbor, but have moved away.
Tiffany Maki was among the first to sign up, reserving the entire 7 p.m. hour Saturday for the Maki-Mehlhoff Duo (with Craig Mehlhoff). She said they’ll be playing music from a wide variety of eras and genres.
“Watching our local musicians and artists share their talent virtually during this time of isolation has been such a blessing,” she said, referring to the clips many have posted online recently. “So many events and performances have been put on hold. GHoodstock gives us a chance to share our talents, keep our ‘chops’ in shape and keep our community togetherness strong. I’m looking forward to streaming the event all weekend!!”
Also in the official lineup are This Way Shepherd (a combo featuring members of This Way Out and Good Shepherd), Terry Lee and Jon Reynolds.
“I am excited to be doing two live events this weekend to bring some joy, excitement and fun to everyone’s living room,” said Reynolds.
Still in the works as of Tuesday morning were Ben Fagerstedt, Wil Russoul and a few others, according to Vaughn.
“If it goes well, we may just do it again in a couple of weeks,” she said.
Vaughn and Blecha also are considering expanding on the concept by offering business owners the opportunity to conduct virtual tours of their operations that have been forced to shut down temporarily.
“We thought: Why don’t we open it to our whole community, like the Aberdeen Art Center or the Westport Aquarium — places that people might want to go see after all this is over?” said Vaughn. “This would allow people to visit all of the Harbor from their homes.”
“They could show off the historic elements of their buildings, or other aspects of their business — put a lot in front of you so you know what’s there,” said Blecha.
It’s all a matter of bringing Harborites together to help sustain one another during this period of physical isolation.
“We always support each other,” said Blecha. “We’re a strong community. We want to embrace that and remind people of that.
“We can use the time we’ve been given as an opportunity.”
To schedule a time slot for GHoodstock, see event updates or find the livestream links this weekend, visit facebook.com/events/1848416538622523.