Alex Romano

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — As the number of cases of COVID-19 decline and vaccination rates continue to rise across the Carolinas, many are eager for a return of activities that were not available during the pandemic, including the opportunity to hear live music.

For example, the city of Tega Cay kicked off its Model A Concert Series last month with a performance by DECARLO, which drew a crowd of hundreds.

“Amazing turnout and a good time being had,” wrote Josephine Bernson, on the city’s Facebook page. “It was great fun,” added Ola van Zyl.

Additionally, as customers return to restaurants, bars and breweries, many venues are starting to host live music on a regular basis, as was common before the pandemic.

Local musician Kris Hitchcock said in recent weeks he has more events booked than ever before.

“I feel like Charlotte especially and Fort Mill and Rock Hill, there’s a lot of a lot of venues that have been closed down with nothing they could really do. So, they’re really excited to get live music back going again and I’m actually, I’m fortunate to have more dates now than I’ve had in a long time,” Hitchcock said.

When the pandemic struck last March, many musicians were left without work, as many performances were cancelled.

“When COVID first became a thing that we all were affected by, I was playing probably two or three nights a week with with a couple of guys, so like a full-live-band type of type of thing,” said Hitchcock. “We did not know what was going to happen and it was kind of one weekend where everything just shut down.”

That was a similar experience for Rock Hill-based musician Sam Booth, who told the Palmetto Report in October that he lost a lot of work due to the pandemic.

Booth, who performs with the Texas-based Christian band The Gladsome Light and up-and-coming country artist Kameron Marlowe, said many of his tour dates were abruptly cancelled right as the lockdowns started last year.

“It was a whirlwind,” said Booth. “We saw over the course of the spring (of 2020), every festival, every live event, any appearances we would have made, those all got cancelled. By the summer, everything for the rest of the year was off the books, too.”

However, as more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine and infections decline, it’s expected that the demand for live music will increase going into the summer.

“Now that we’re getting more and more people going out and more and more comfortable doing that, I think live music, in like a full-band setting is actually on its way back too, so it’s been crazy,” said Hitchcock.

Recently, Hitchcock performed at the Legal Remedy Brewing Company’s Riverwalk location, which seemed to be well received by customers.

“It’s just so nice to be out again and enjoying things like normal,” said one patron, as she sat outside listening to Hitchcock perform.

Legal Remedy lists at least 16 upcoming live music performances at its Riverwalk location.