With venues closed, Peoria musicians find ways to bring performances to fans


PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Local musicians say live performances fuel Peoria’s music scene.

“Peoria, I like to say, is the next Nashville,” said Sarah Marie Dillard of Sarah & The Underground.

But right now, venues are closed.

“This is going to have a major impact on our business along with, I would say, 70 to 80 percent of businesses locally that do music,” said Rob Mathisen, the co-owner of Pour Bros. Craft Taproom in Peoria Heights.

Pour Bros. hosts a free concert series during the summer.

“I think that courtyard concert series has been a good springboard for many musicians to showcase their talents,” said Mathisen.

Now, Mathisen doesn’t know when they’ll be able to safely reopen and host musicians.

So, artists are finding new ways to perform.

“Artists are creative, they’re entrepreneurs, they’re working, they’re problem solvers,” said Kindall Reuschel, the owner of Peoria Music Live.

Peoria musicians are taking the stage – at home.

“It is different singing to a phone because that phone doesn’t give you anything back,” said Dillard.

And while they’re making due now, artists are looking forward to getting back on the stage.

“I miss it a lot. You know, there’s always that connection of being in front of a crowd, so it’s a bummer,” said Brandon Mooberry of Sarah & The Underground.

Artists, venues owners, and music lovers are hoping they can be together soon and connect through music.

Mathisen says they’re still waiting for guidance from Gov. Pritzker on when businesses like Pour Bros. will be able to open back up.

He hopes they can bring the courtyard concert series back safely using social distancing in Mid-June.

If you’re looking to tune into one of Sarah & The Underground’s virtual performances, the group is participating in a Zoom concert on May 15.

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