Open Mic Castlemaine stays alive with Scott Sanders & Robbie Nokes
Musicians have been unable to play together during the COVID-19 isolation lockdowns. There has been no live music at all, except for one regular gig, Open Mic Castlemaine. Once hosted as a live music night at the Criterion Hotel Castlemaine (The Cri) for the past few years, it was revived as a live stream event by Scott Sanders and Robbie Nokes.
In the middle of the first isolation period, morale was low amongst local musos. This where Scott and Robbie decided to help the local music community come out of isolation for a short while at the start of each week. Every Monday without fail, once his working day was done here at the office, Scott set up the microphones and his cameras and streamed, via Facebook, live music performed by a line up of local musicians.
During the second lockdown, restrictions were so tight that Open Mic could not be a live performance so Robbie and Scott sourced archived local performances to stream. Some musicians sent in clips of themselves playing and some material was sourced from YouTube.
Scott chose Facebook as the live streaming platform for Open Mic because it attracts stronger audience engagement than YouTube. The audience who are tuned in engage by commenting and liking during the live session. Facebook live enhances the community spirit and connects the performer to their audience. Live streaming could never replace the live venue but it is a pretty good compromise when there is no other choice.
Since the lockdown restrictions have eased, the Cri is no longer operational, but that has not deterred the locals who continue to support live music by giving their time to Open Mic. It has definitely boosted morale and maintained a sense of community among the local creatives and their audiences.