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Performers Keeping The Music Alive During Pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled concerts and events statewide, but that hasn’t stopped the music for some Utah performers.

Virtually overnight, Michelle Moonshine said she lost her two sources of income — performing live music and renting out Airbnb properties — due to the coronavirus.

“There’s zero money coming in. I don’t have a backup plan,” she said.

Working musician Talia Keys suddenly lost more than a dozen local shows and then, because she’s diabetic and faces a higher risk from COVID-19, went into a self-imposed quarantine.

“I feel kind of bleak a little bit because I see so many people, still not really taking it serious,” she said. “You know, not doing the social distancing, not doing the six feet apart. I have friends that say, you know, I can’t believe we’re not just living our lives right now. ‘Why would we let the government control us’ and for me, I’m a rebel as they come. But I do realize that when it comes to these things, the whole world is acting on something. You got to pay attention to that stuff and respect it.”

“It’s also my work for the rest of the year (that’s) affected by this actually,” said musician Kate MacLeod. “It’s planned months in advance. We don’t know what to plan.”

“I imagine that a lot of people might be selling instruments and amplifiers and things like that. If it sticks around too long,” said drummer Bob Smith.

Like musicians across the country, Keys and Moonshine are still serenading some of their fans online, streaming from home and accepting contributions. Keys performed Taco Tuesday and pajama party-themed shows and put on a music class for children.

“For us being active still playing music has been like the biggest saving grace,” she said.

“People have been super supportive on the internet,” Moonshine said.

Both women are performing in the “Love in the Time of Coronavirus” online music festival March 27-29, sponsored by Ogden music venue the Co-op and organized by promoter Geoffrey Bilderback.

“I realized there’s not gonna be a bailout for musicians like there is for other people,” he said. “So I was trying to think of what I could do to help and this is the best idea I could come up with.”

Michelle Moonshine didn’t just lose income. She lost what she calls “much needed therapy.”

“Usually I’ll play like seven or eight gigs in a row, and then have a couple nights off. And then those couple days off, I start to not do very well, mentally, just being at home and stuff,” she said. “And this is just like a really long version of that.”

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at

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