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With COVID-19, The Show Goes On (Lawns) For Evanston Musicians

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Live music has been mostly silenced in this pandemic.

But CBS 2's Vince Gerasole has more from Evanston where some musicians are trying to raise the volume again, with private, socially distanced concerts for families and neighbors on their front lawns.

In the gig economy, it is no secret musicians and performance spaces have been hit especially hard. But some are coming together now and they think the next best place to perform just might be your front lawn.

Warming up on an empty stage, musician Jason Narducy reflects on the massive downturn in his bookings.

"I had a number of tours get cancelled and local shows get cancelled," lamented Jason Narducy.

There are echos of more festive moments. But those who run the performance venue SPACE, like Jake Samuels, know things will be dark at the Evanston club for some time.

"Unlike restaurants, unlike retail, we don't have a product that can be carried out and picked up curbside," Samuels said.

They are now hoping just a few feet from your curb, on your private property. The music can continue to play with a micro concert limited to just ten people

"It's a 30 minute solo show right from your front lawn at a very safe distance," Narducy said.

Organizers announced "SPACE to Go" online last Friday. It's a lawn concert with take out drinks and pizza from their sister restaurant for $450.

"We initially thought let's try to book an afternoon on May 9," Narducy said.

And what did people say?

"Oh, the response was huge," Samuels said. Narducy added "we got 60 offers."

Narducy, with his guitar,  walked us through a  planned set up.

"I am going to be completely self contained. I won't be near anyone during the shows," Narducy said.

SPACE even ran the concept past the city of Evanston's business development office for approval.

"We have a few staff that keep folks at a distance, if neighbors do start to wander over," Samuels said. "Then we pack up and we are on to the next one (with) fully sanitized gloves and masks."

It is a far cry from the world they used to orchestrate. But it's music to their ears.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to play on lawns," Narducy said.

Organizers admit there might be some kinks to work out in the first few concerts, but they sure are anxious to give it a try to keep the music playing safely.

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