Island City hosts live music

Island City hosts live music

Matthew Drewry

Masked musical performances took place at Island City Brewing Company Saturday, Sept. 19.

Minneapolis bands Durry and Coyote Kid performed to a socially-distant outdoor crowd.

Opener Durry said his musical experience did not prepare him for the changes COVID-19 brought.

“We had a whole bunch of shows booked and then quarantine came along and flushed them down the toilet,” Durry said.

Bands are not the only ones who have had to make significant changes to stay afloat. Island City complied with the city’s mask order, requiring every person to wear face coverings inside the brewery, and sit at distanced picnic tables outside the bar.

However, the ability to listen to live music again was not lost on attendees.

“The last time I saw live music… I don’t remember,” Winona State University alumni Jarred Dickinson reminisced.

Many attended the live show, though not without notes of dissent.

“Should live shows be a thing? No. But I don’t blame the people going,” Winona State senior Mari Orrego said.

Treedom booking agent Nathaniel Nelson acknowledged these concerns, but said he found the value of live music to be too high to ignore.

“I think people’s worries are one hundred percent founded in truth,” Nelson said. “But there are ways to do this safely… these experiences are indispensable.”

Island City is primarily a brewery and bar, but said that live music is an important draw to the establishment as well as to other Winona venues.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) reported, “90% of independent venues report they will close permanently in a few months without federal funding.”

Local establishment Ed’s No Name Bar also hosted an event featuring Winona band Rogue the Wolf. Ed’s took advantage of their courtyard with limited seating for this performance.

“It was fun yet safe and you could see the excitement in everyone there,” attendee Isaac Yanta said.

Winona’s venues host a variety of musical events each year, but not all have outdoor options.

NIVA described their economic impact.

“For every $1 spent on a ticket at small venues, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated within communities on restaurants, hotels, taxis, and retail establishments,” NIVA said.