COVID-19 hits live music hard | Music Feature | Chicago Reader

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COVID-19 hits live music hard

You can still support artists and staff by buying merch and donating to fundraisers.


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The current message on the Metro marquee - KELLY WEY
  • Kelly Wey
  • The current message on the Metro marquee

Precautions intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in the widespread cancellation of concerts and the temporary closure of the great majority of Chicago's music venues. Many people working in live music—artists, road crews, promoters, venue staff—are losing most or all of their income during this crisis.

Because every concert the Reader intended to cover this week has been called off, we've converted our show previews to record reviews where possible. We hope this will drive sales of music or other merch and help artists compensate for lost gig income. We've included links on each review page where you can make such purchases.

Several local venues have already launched fundraising campaigns to help their employees stay afloat while operations are suspended, among them the Hideout, the Empty Bottle (and Bite Cafe), Metro (along with Smart Bar and Gman), the Hungry Brain, Reggies', Sleeping Village, the Whistler, Cole's, SPACE in Evanston, Cafe Mustache, and Tonic Room. Please consider donating, especially if your job still exists. And please e-mail to let us know about campaigns not on the list below.

Venue names, alphabetized below, link to the relevant fundraising pages.

Baton Show Lounge

Beat Kitchen (to supplement the linked fundraiser, all proceeds from food delivery and takeout go to staff of Beat Kitchen and Subterranean)

Bottom Lounge

Burlington Bar

Cafe Mustache

Carol's Pub

Chop Shop

City Winery (all locations, not just Chicago)

Cobra Lounge

Cole's Bar

Concord Music Hall

Constellation No fundraiser at this time, but patrons who bought tickets for canceled shows can donate their refunds to the staff.

Danny's Tavern

Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret


Elastic Arts has its usual donation page, as well as a GoFundMe whose proceeds will be split 50/50 with affected artists and performers

Empty Bottle (and Bite Cafe)

FitzGerald's (merch booth)

Four Entertainment Group (includes the Owl and AliveOne)


Hungry Brain

Kingston Mines

Liar's Club

Lincoln Hall and Schubas (parent company Audiotree is donating and matching its Bandcamp proceeds through March 31)

Live Wire Lounge


Metro (and Smart Bar and Gman Tavern)

Montrose Saloon

MP Productions staff

Park West


Prysm Nightclub


Reed's Local

Reggies' Rock Club (and Music Joint)


Riviera Theatre (fundraiser closed)

Rosa's Lounge

The Silver Room

Sleeping Village

SPACE in Evanston (fundraiser closed)

Spy Bar

Subterranean (second fundraiser launched May 21)

Thalia Hall (plus Dusek's and Punch House)

Tonic Room

Uncommon Ground Edgewater

Uncommon Ground Lakeview

Vic Theatre (fundraiser closed)


Wire (fundraiser closed)  v

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