Dave Laurence

Dave Laurence volunteered to open the online #VirtualSoundemoniumFest with a 5 p.m. streaming show Saturday via Facebook Live.

With the shutdown of all venues for musicians to make some money to do their thing, not to mention the venues being able to do the same, the local music world has been taking a pretty hard hit. It’s one that’s going to keep punching in the coming week.

So, I had a notion. Part of it is to make #VirtualSoundemoniumFest more than a cool hashtag. I posted the following to the Today’s Best Soundemonium! Facebook page last week and have been overwhelmed by the response of the music makers. Here it is for posterity and fresh eyes:

This is a call out to all of the local musicians, especially those who have made their presence known on Magic 95.3 FM’s Today’s Best Soundemonium! and The Lawton Constitution’s weekly Soundemonium Musaic column.

The shutdown of venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing hardship for you and the venues who support your music habits. We don’t know when it’s going to end.

So, here’s a modest proposal. Beginning Saturday, let’s begin an online #VirtualSoundemoniumFest.

I’d like to see you perform concerts from your home or practice spaces, acoustic or full on electric. All genres, all styles. Stream the performances via your artist Facebook pages through Facebook Live or through YouTube or however works best.

The idea is to put up an online tip jar or link to a PayPal or other online money transfer system and raise money for you and for your favored venues. I’m suggesting split any funds raised 50/50. These are the places that provide the opportunity for you to be heard on most normal weekends. But these aren’t normal times. We all need to stand together and keep the music alive.

I suggest these shows should continue throughout the extent of the shutdown currently underway. Play as many of these shows as you wish, as long as it takes.

What I’m asking is that you let me know when you’re playing, what time and send me a link to how people can watch. You can contact me through Facebook or via my email: scott.rains@swoknews.com.

I’ll share on the Today’s Best Soundemonium! Facebook page, my personal page (Scott WHole Rains) and over a dozen music oriented groups, some of which are national while others cater locally. All I’m asking in return is that any of these shows make sure to put #VirtualSoundemoniumFest in your links.

I’d always thought this would be something we could physically do in one venue but with the circumstances as they are, you take the opportunity you have.

You are needed. Your music is needed and your spirits lifted are needed.

Join in this endeavor and prove that you can’t stop the best in live local music.

Like I wrote earlier, the initial response has been overwhelming. The inimitable Dave Laurence was the first artist to jump on board and he’ll open what I hope is an ongoing music feast for times of famine.

Laurence will broadcast a show from from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday home studio broadcast at facebook.com/davelaurencemusic.

Viewer tips will be split with Robinson’s Landing to help them weather the COVID-19 outbreak as well. You can contribute via: Venmo: @Dave_Laurence; and PayPal: paypal.me/HearsayEntertainment.

Laurence said his reasoning for taking part is that, as with all the other facets of life right now, it’s about being part of something bigger than yourself. It’s about giving back.

“I have the mixed blessing of continuing to hold down a day job while pursuing my music,” he said. “I’m grateful for the security, but there are times where the music isn’t the priority I’d like it to be. That said, many of my brothers and sisters in the business aren’t as fortunate right now, especially those who have made the leap to becoming full-time musicians. For them, there’s precious little security – and income – right now. This is a time where we all need to lean on each other (virtually!) and raise each other up.”

What really drew Laurence to the #VirtualSoundemoniumFest was the opportunity to help out the venues. He said many of the businesses are the backbone of the music community, they allow the music makers to make music for an audience. That they’ve been forced to drastically cut back or close altogether makes it important for artists and the publics to do what they can to help everyone hit the ground running once life returns to normal.

Laurence said his choice of Robinson’s Landing is about the man behind the business.

“Mike Cowing isn’t a typical guy, but his story resonates right now,” Laurence said. “He’s worked very hard to support local musicians over the past several years at his venues in Lawton and Medicine Park. He’s been known to take a few risks to see that his musicians get a fair shake. He’s given back to the community. And he’s got a tougher row to hoe right now because he runs a mostly seasonal business.”

Laurence expects the other musicians who choose to participate will offer similar stories about their chosen venues to help support.

“Again, we all need to raise each other up,” he said.

Expectations for Saturday’s show are what you’d expect from Laurence during this time. He said to expect levity and lightheartedness.

“That doesn’t mean I’m not taking the current situation seriously,” he said. “But music has the power to be a coping mechanism throughout all of this. That’s what I hope to provide.”

Although based out of Oklahoma City, Laurence claims dual citizenship with Lawton, an area he considers to be equal as his musical home. He has the best of reasons to be the pioneer in this endeavor.

“The show is a chance for me to say thank you to the community,” he said.

Thank him in return by tuning into his performance.

For all you other musicians readying to participate, or even just considering it, that’s the very reason to do it – in gratitude. Your listeners will tune in for the same reason.

This week brought an end to 170 straight weeks of new editions of Today’s Best Soundemonium! with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist. Unfortunately, a lockdown of Studio Blanket/Tent Fort means the conditions for new episodes are up in the air for a bit. Performers scheduled for the coming weeks will still be featured in the column as we discuss ways they’re getting through the Ccoronavirus shutdowns and what they’re doing to continue creating their musical art.

We’re going to run past Mix Tapes in the interim (Mix Tape Surprise), some dating back to the show’s early days in 2017. Tune in and listen to some great talent and fall back in love with listening to local music on the radio airwaves.

Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 6:25 p.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/ or www.onlineradiobox.com; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/.

And, hey, if you have a song you want us to check out, email us: soundemonium@gmail.com.

#Sundaymonium — Remember that every Sunday night you can listen to a rebroadcast of the prior week’s show followed by this latest show: 6 p.m., Drop Dead Dammit; 6:30 p.m., Mix Tape Surprise.

Visit, “like” (“love”) and follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/steveoandthescribe/.

Soundemonium Musaic Lawton music archive homepage: Scott Rains — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPw__GedGPOUD-wROFcuZ8w.

Along with being the columnist of Soundemonium Musaic, Scott Rains is also a police, fire, Native Affairs and roller derby reporter for The Lawton Constitution.

You can email him at: scott.rains@swoknews.com.

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