Save Our Stages

Hello, friends and music fans!

As you may know, the music industry has suffered tremendously during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. For artists, agents, venues and promotors, it's been a very difficult 9 months. Tours, gigs and contracts have been canceled,  and worst of all, some of our national treasures and musical heroes--from John Prine to Ellis Marsalis --have died.   A recent survey found that 90% of all venues may be forced to close permanently before the end of 2020; we cannot let that happen.

As fans and concerned citizens, we must come together and do our part to help #SaveOurStages. If we can, as a society, raise millions upon millions for politicians of every stripe on a regular basis, we can all chip in a modest amount and quickly raise some money that will help save some of our favorite venues.

For me, as a drummer and music fan, I am most interested in supporting venues that have a real sense of community and a legacy of supporting great talent.  The two venues that came to mind immediately when I thought about it were eTown Hall in Boulder, Colorado, where I live, and Tipitinas in New Orleans-- a venue I love in a city I love-- with a rich history and a real sense of community. Tipitinas also shows a real appreciation for the musicians who play there, and their many fans around the world.  Tip's, an 800 capacity club, was one of the first venues to close in New Orleans-- and will likely be one of the last to reopen.  The world class funk band  Galactic bought the club in late 2018, but after vast expenditures on the purchase and necessary repairs and upgrades, they were only able to run the club for about a year before it got shut down by the coronavirus pandemic--along with the primary source of income for the band--touring and live shows.

As a drummer for two working bands in Boulder, Colorado, I was able to quickly put together a benefit show at eTown Hall in early October, 2020. 

David Williams' Trickster Carousel and The Rampart Street Stompers, in conjunction with videographer William Garrison's StreamLearn , filmed two sets of music to be streamed after the fact to benefit Tipitinas and eTown. 

The crew of eTown was paid for their time, thanks to my partner, Monique Jourdan-- but the venue itself did not make a dime. The musicians in the bands worked for free, and are not seeking compensation as part of this benefit.

All the funds we raise will be split between Tipitinas in New Orleans, and eTown Hall in Boulder, Colorado.

For the duration of this campaign, we will release a song or two per week from Trickster Carousel and The Rampart Street Stompers, along with several Galactic performances recorded at Tipitinas. Please donate what you can and share this campaign with as many friends and music fans as possible.  When we get to the other side of this pandemic and into the roaring '20's at last, we will need our venues--so please help us #SaveOurStages! The time is now!

Please enjoy the first song in this series from The Rampart Street Stompers,
"I've Found A New Baby," here: 

Last, a song from Galactic--"Qualified," By Dr John, recorded live at Tipitinas shortly before the pandemic: 

Thank you all so much for your help in saving these great venues!

Peace, Love and Music,

Stephen Van Balgooyen
Boulder, Colorado, USA


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Stephen Balgooyen 
Longmont, CO
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