COVID-19: The Onstage Music Community Forum: Tokyo Rosenthal

By on March 20, 2020

Before it’s over, there won’t be a person in this country or most of the world, whose life will not have been affected in some way by COVID-19. At Onstage, we are acutely aware of the impact the pandemic is having on the artistic and music communities.

So what can we do? Well, we can listen and share. Share your fears, your hopes, your ideas, your soul. We are starting a forum to voice all of it. From the artists to the roadies to the lighting and catering crews, to the promoters and managers, venue owners, poster designers and music stores…tell us what’s happening.

You never know where the next great idea may come from, so let’s have a conversation about it all. If you know of organizations that might assist, let us know. If you’re terrified you won’t make it through the day, week, or month…reach out. We are a big community, we can do this.

Send your story, thoughts, ideas to and include your social sites if you have any, current project links, photos, etc. We can promote as well as listen.

We’re starting off this series with a post from Chapel Hill, NC based Americana singer-songwriter Tokyo Rosenthal. Toke gives us a heartfelt view of the gut punch felt by so many.

“You Don’t Know What You Got til’ it’s Gone”. This simple sentence sums up how I feel. Imagine having your favorite things to do ripped out from underneath you. Playing gigs, giving guitar lessons, and no sports on TV!!!

My first cancelled show is this Saturday. I feel like I’d pay the venue to be able to play. As of late I’ve been playing in a trio and I already miss my band mates terribly. We don’t know when we’ll see each other again. That’s the crazy part of all of this. The unknown!

Yes, we communicate on-line but it’s not the same. And I haven’t even touched on the money. People I play with, as well as our sound folks, need the revenue from the gigs. As there was no planning for any of this there was no stockpiling of funds.

Many folks say you can play at home but it’s not the same. You lose the thrill of the live audience. My inbox is filled with cancellation notices. It’s hard to book new shows for the summer or fall because you don’t know when things will open up again. So, it’s hard to be inspired to book gigs, or even write new songs.

So what can we do? We can post old shows online. My radio shows are all archived on YouTube so I can re-post them on Facebook, or wherever, for bored folks at home to watch and listen to. Audio versions of my concerts are available too. But as I said, it’s not the same as playing live with your mates. Not the same as putting “bread in my jar!” Will it be May? Or June? Or next fall?

Let me be clear, the money won’t be made up. Not for struggling acts or bigger names. David Crosby said he will lose his home due to concerts being cancelled. Things were already rough in the “biz” before the plague hit us.

Surreal is the word that keeps coming up. Hard enough to play for short money, but now our passion is being diminished.

Tokyo Rosenthal website

Tokyo Rosenthal facebook

Tokyo Rosenthal ReverbNation

Tokyo Rosenthal on YouTube

Post by Kath Galasso @KatsTheory