• Ashlee Kare Robertson

CBR Live - An Afternoon of Live Music on Instagram

What a wild ride 2020 has been. A year where Australian's have endured many hardships together. Our most recent at the hands of COVID-19. Several weeks ago many artists felt the brutal blow as thousands of gigs were cancelled and new government restrictions put in place. Our once vibrant music community felt a deep sense of loss and disconnection. But not a group to give up; musicians from all over the globe have banded together through live streaming to bring hope and a sense of normalcy to fellow musicians and music lovers alike. Canberra, not a city to pass on this beautiful way to shine light in the darkness, has seen live streaming on the rise. Aiden of the band Learner's Permit organised CBR Live - accurately dubbed "An afternoon of live music on Instagram from the comfort of your own home."

Aiden: "It was great contact all of these bands (some of whom I hadn't met) and to have them jump on the bill. They all rule and are worth your follow/stream." "The whole experience was really wholesome, especially watching it back and being able to see all the comments - everyone helped make it feel somewhat like a live gig. The fact that this is one of many live-stream festivals happening across Australia gives us a lot of hope and shows the strength of the local and national scene." "We haven't rehearsed together as a group since the outbreak, but we have still been individually trying to stay creative, and sharing our ideas with each other over social media." "After the isolation period, we are planning to do some recording and play as many shows as we can, to try and get a feeling of normality back within the local scene." Staying positive, the band had these pieces of advice to offer other artists: "Support each other. If you can't afford merch or physical music, please stream/share music as much as you can. Don't feel pressure to be creative either; you don't have to use this time to create your next masterpiece."

Fellow musicians The Dirty Sunflowers took part in the CBR Live festival and reflected on their positive experiences during this time. Jess: "I think pretty much all bands, big and small, had the same thought process we did – what's next if we can't play shows? As government restrictions came into play, so did the surge of streams and virtual concerts. The silver lining to this whole situation is the boom in creative thinking. We had already been keen to stream a show and film some rehearsal sessions – being part of CBR Live was one step better." "It was really cool to interact with a tuned-in audience in real-time, and see song requests pop up! It definitely felt more personal, more intimate to stream live compared to uploading an edited video. The added 'treasure hunt' element was so engaging too – it was fun to jump from stream to stream and see a more 'behind the scenes' perspective from other bands." "When the restrictions first hit we were really disappointed, we had shows booked for The Basement and Smiths Alternative, others in various planning stages. Cancelling everything across the board sucked, but I think we've moved past that now. We're staying positive. We aren't alone in this, and our support never wavered; in fact, it's increased!" "Since then the band has FaceTimed a's near impossible to play as a group in real-time without meeting in person, but we're sending through recordings, ideas, etc. Once the isolation lifts a tour is definitely on the horizon, making a full-blown music video too, and releasing new music! We see this as an opportunity to make new material and plan ahead." Jess' final message was of hope to the greater community: "Don't let this situation hold you back more than it has to. Get creative! Host a virtual show, write new material, reach out to your fellow musicians, reach out to us!"

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© 2020 by Ashlee Kate Robertson