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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Music scene quiet in College Station

Bars%2C+like+Blue+Light%2C+have+not+been+able+to+host+as+many+live+music+performances+since+the+Texas+mandates+were+put+into+place.
via Facebook

Bars, like Blue Light, have not been able to host as many live music performances since the Texas mandates were put into place.

With the state of Texas requiring bars to be closed, the live music scene in College Station has fallen silent.
Due to an executive order signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 26, any business that did not make 51 percent or more of its profits from food had to close again after reopening for a short period of time. This executive order caused most of the bars in College Station to close their doors, consequently taking the venues’ stages away from local and travelling performers alike.
One of the bars affected by this executive order was Mo’s Irish Pub. Justin Roueche, the front house manager, said the bar brought in a lot of performers before it had to temporarily close.
“We tried to do a couple big name bands from [the] Houston area or Austin on Fridays or Saturdays at least once or twice a month,” Roueche said. “Then [we also brought in] a lot of local artists — Texas Country, some Red Dirt… just kind of a wide range, trying to take care of the local artists.”
The Tap was another bar that formerly brought in live music for its patrons. John Whittington, the owner of the bar, said he did not expect the pandemic and its effects on the community to last this long.
“At the time, we thought the COVID-19 pandemic would be a week, maybe two,” Whittington said. “It was a watch and wait process. As band dates approached, we wouldn’t cancel the show until the last minute.”
Recently, bars have found a way to open their doors again by beginning to operate more like restaurants, with at least 51 percent of their profits coming from food to avoid the mandate’s restrictions. However, bars reopening does not mean live music will be returning to College Station immediately, said Mo’s Irish Pub general manager Chris Kelby.
“The first few weeks we’re not going to be open for anybody yet,” Kelby said. “Our music program will probably be suspended for a little while until we see what happens in this new climate.”
The bars are not the only ones who were affected by the pandemic’s consequences. Jordan Robert Kirk, a country singer and songwriter from Idalou, has had significantly fewer opportunities to perform since mid-March.
“I actually played in a bar in Lubbock, in the Blue Light in June,” Kirk said. “Then, I guess a couple weeks later was when they shut Blue Light down again, shut all the bars down again. So, it’s been sporadic. I’ve probably played less than 10 times in the past six months.”
Kirk has been able to support himself during this time by working on his family’s cotton farm during the day, but he said not being able to play for people has been difficult for him.
“Music has always been an escape for me,” Kirk said. “I’ve always told myself no matter what level of success I have I’m going to enjoy it. So it’s always been a joy whether I’m playing for a huge crowd or five people and a bartender.”
While Whittington said he understands the difficulty music artists may be experiencing, he has hope for the future of music.
“They are feeling the pain, of course financially, but artists are artists, they need to perform,” Whittington said. “There will be a flood of new music the artists have written over the COVID downtime, so it is an exciting time for new and live music.”

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