GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Live music is back in West Michigan after COVID-19 restrictions prevented performances for more than a year.
Over the past few weeks, venues like The Intersection and The Pyramid Scheme have welcomed back artists and concert goers.
On Saturday, The Pyramid Scheme held its third show, which featured Rockit King, Barrel Bones, and The Pice Project.
“It’s fantastic, it’s fabulous; it’s hard for me to think of all the adjectives right now, but after everything we’ve been through in the last fourteen, fifteen months, it’s a special time,” said Tami Vanderberg, co-owner.
Vanderberg says since the state announced indoor COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted, the venue has worked to line up acts, prepare the stage, and hire staff to meet what she calls pent-up demand. Through August, most of the venue’s shows will feature local performers with national tours picking up in September.
“I check our ticket sales every day for our shows coming up and they’re going fast,” said Vanderberg. “We’re booked up till November, December at this point.”
Concert goers seem to be equally excited about the industry’s return.
“It’s been so long,” said Robin Randall of Wyoming. “Just to have the interaction with other people.”
“It’s something that feeds your soul,” said Ryan Lynn O’Toole, who was visiting from Seattle. “If you can’t go out and do that stuff, it’s just pretty mundane.”
According to the Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association, venues contribute more than $660 million to Michigan’s economy.
Musicians say they want to continue to make an impact and that they’ve stayed silent for too long.
“We missed everybody and we missed supporting other bands,” said Jess Beveridge, Rockit King lead singer. “I hope it kind of opens up a floodgate where people say, ‘I haven’t seen a show in a year and a half; I’m going to go see two shows a month until I’m out of breath.’”
“Music is life,” said Vanderberg. “Music is how we celebrate; it’s how we get solace; it’s how we be together; it’s how you forget your troubles. You get in that room and you get in the zone.”
READ MORE: Live music returns to Pyramid Scheme