As of right now, there really is no end in sight for COVID-19 and the social-distancing guidelines that come with it. With that comes the reality that the music scene is still nowhere near going back to “normal.” But that does not mean there are not still important shows going on in our local communities. Here’s a small sample of the local music scene this week (plus Part One of a very special two-part music-event announcement):

SalmonFest: Streaming for Bristol Bay  August 2nd, 4-7 p.m. (AKT)

For almost a decade now, SalmonFest has been Alaska’s largest music festival. Past headline acts include Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, and Jason Mraz, amongst many others. But, as Cook Inlet Keeper organizer, Satchel Pondolfino put it, the music is only part of it. “(Salmonfest) exists to celebrate Alaska’s salmon culture and stoke a community of salmon lovers dedicated to protecting our salmon landscape and salmon-centric way of life.” And this year, as ever, the salmon are in danger. We are now closer than ever to the Pebble Mine becoming a reality, potentially endangering watersheds which many Alaskan salmon rely on. Pondolfino points to the reality that, “We’re now at the 11th hour as the US Army Corps of Engineers puts the final touches on its highly flawed and incomplete mine plan review and prepares to issue the Pebble Limited Partnership its first and most critical federal permit before the end of summer.”

That is all to say that many at Cook Inlet Keeper and who help organize SalmonFest felt the push to, despite COVID-19, organize some sort of event to continue to raise awareness and support for Alaskan salmon and their natural habitats, and push back against projects (like the Pebble Mine project) that threaten them. So, in place of their usual 3-day weekend festival, SalmonFest is taking its event online, streaming from 4 to 7 p.m. (AKT) on Sunday, August 2nd from SalmonFest’s Facebook & YouTube accounts.

This year’s Salmon-stream will include sets from more than a dozen of your favorite local and national Salmonfest acts (more details coming soon!), as well as interviews, stories, and more from many champions of Alaska’s salmon. The livestream is FREE, but viewers are urged to donate to Cook Inlet Keeper (and other organizations) geared to protect Alaska’s salmon.

Virtual Live After Five: Super-Saturated Sugar Strings - July 23rd

One local band that has graced the Salmonfest stage on multiple occasions, and that has also been deeply impacted by COVID-19, are the Super-Saturated Sugar Strings. While they have seemingly decided to forgo playing any summer gigs in physical venues, they are this coming week’s guest on the Anchorage Downtown Partnership’s Virtual Live After Five.

As has been the case for the whole summer, these Virtual Live After Five events feature some of south-central Alaska’s finest local musicians. The show will be livestreamed from 5 to 6 p.m. (AKT), Thursday July 23rd, on the Anchorage Downtown Partnership’s Facebook Page, as well as from 7 to 8 p.m. (AKT) on the radio on KNBA, found in Anchorage at 90.3 FM.

Since you very well may not see the Sugar Strings around playing shows this summer, catch this show while you can. Oh, and look out for their new drummer, local percussionist, Cameron Cartland.

Tim Montana & The Shrednecks (+ Ken 

Peltier Band) at Koots - Thursday July 23

Originally from Butte, Montana comes gritty-country artist Tim Montana (yes, that really is his name) to Alaska, to share the stage with our very own Ken Peltier Band. The Shredneck’s hard, gritty style of country has netted them touring gigs and co-writes on songs with ZZ Top and Kid Rock, appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, and the honor of having his song “This Beard Came Here to Party”, become the official anthem of the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Run. And now, they’re coming to Alaska!

This Alaskan mini-tour begins with an all-ages (with +21 legal guardian) show in the parking lot at Koots (aka Chilkoot Charlie’s), in Spenard on Thursday, July 23rd.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and as of press-time, tickets are still available at Social-distancing and masks are highly recommended.

So whether you feel comfortable going out to a socially-distanced, live, in-person show or you would prefer to watch and support from the comfort and safety of your own home, there is again a little something for everyone.

Be safe. Be smart. Be good to your neighbors.

And whenever possible, support the local music scene and help so many beloved artists, venues, and promoters stay afloat in these hard times.

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