EVERETT – Marc Tachell has been behind EverettRock.com since 2009, compiling local shows, promoting events and sometimes helping his musician friends book concerts all over town.
But after 13 years, he presses pause. The concert flyers on the site’s home page have been replaced with static venue listings.
“It’s stupid to get people to COVID. I can’t do this, ”Tachell told the Daily Herald. “I will not refer people to COVID infection. “
For a while, I felt like Everett’s music scene was picking up steam. This fall, as cases dwindled, a new downtown venue punctuated a trio of performance spaces within walking distance of Hewitt Avenue.
Now the omicron variant is fueling a huge rise in infections, filling hospitals and overwhelming testing sites.
For local venues and artists, this is bad news. Again.
“The holiday shows went really well,” Lucky Dime owner Amber Vincini said this week. “People were coming together again, and it was like we were about to step into the New Year and things were getting better. And very quickly, that changed.
Before Christmas, the small hall hosted local musicians performing happy holiday tunes. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” got the crowd singing. But last weekend, Lucky Dime canceled their show list after a conversation with the bands.
“It was a pretty easy conclusion to draw. To be like, ‘Looks like we’re both really uncomfortable with this,’ ”Vincini said.
Lucky Dime’s crowds might be young, she said, “but of course we’re all more worried about releasing it to our families or friends.”
The historic director of the Everett Theater, Curt Shriner, faces a similar dilemma.
“I’m also canceling shows left and right,” he said.
It’s not that the artists cancel the dates. Shriner said no one was buying tickets. An upcoming show that normally sells 150-200 tickets so far is at 18. Two of the four events scheduled this month will likely be canceled, he said.
“We have no income,” Shriner said. Unlike other creative spaces, the theater does not depend on donors. We do not have it. We do it out of our pocket.
The owner of the Black Lab Gallery and the bar, Isabella Valencia, said she doesn’t know many people who have contracted COVID in the past. That changed with the omicron surge, however.
“We have sick people everywhere,” she said. “I have never seen so much disease happen.”
On the phone, she counted under her breath how many shows the venue has canceled since Christmas.
“One, two, three, four – we’ve had eight shows canceled so far,” she said.
On top of that, the room’s pipes burst during the recent cold snap.
“I’ll be honest with you. Today I was just thinking – I don’t know – are we going to be okay? Can we stay open? she said. “This new variant scares people.”
It also scares Tachell. His decision to stop listing local shows came after a recent night out with his girlfriend.
“We couldn’t get away from the masses of people around us who weren’t masked,” he said. “It looks like all the rules have loosened up for the bar scene.”
Tacell will soon be 70 years old. He said he knows too many unvaccinated musicians who play and still attend shows.
“It just freaked us out,” he said. “That’s it. I’m done.”
Some shows, of course, will continue.
Guy Johnson’s band have been performing locally since 1977. It won’t stop because of COVID, he said, highlighting upcoming concerts in Tulalip and on Whidbey Island.
His less than optimistic view is that the music scene has been in decline since the digital age.
As for omicron, he said, “It’s just another nail in the rock and roll coffin.”
Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; [email protected] Twitter: @yawclaudia.