‘The show must go on’

Fund-raising Ridgecrest Music Festival goes virtual

‘The show must go on’By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Dozens of local musicians streamed their live performances on the “Ridgecrest’s 1st Virtual Music Festival” Facebook page last weekend in lieu of what would have been the fourth-annual “Ridgecrest Music Festival,” which usually takes place at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds.

The annual event is organized by local non-profit organization MeloMania Entertainments and raises money for the Monroe and Murray Middle School orchestra programs.

MeloMania’s Michelle Findley announced that the festival, a two-day event with on-site camping and local vendors in addition to live music, would be postponed in early March to help slow the spread of COVID-19. A week before the festival’s planned April 18 start date, she announced the event would proceed online.

The page remains active with a PayPal link connected to her 501(c)(3) account (paypal.me/melomaniaentertainme). Viewers can find current and former residents performing from studios, living rooms, back yards and even from Scotland.

Findley reported that she only raised a couple hundred dollars this go-around (compared to the normal couple thousand). But she said she understands people all over are financially struggling.

“Having to close my business and postpone the music festival has been a drastic change to my ‘normal’ way of life,” said Findley. “But music is getting me through this. And all of the music students have been on my mind. They’re used to getting an hour of music, five days a week. I’m hoping to inspire them to keep playing music at home.”

She added that the virtual nature added some unique changes to the types of performances featured.

“We’re seeing more personal performances,” said Findley. “Musicians are giving up-close experiences that you don’t normally get in a large group. We saw family bands and solo performances and people pulled out old instruments that haven’t gotten as much attention. It has been so very special to see and hear the beauty that has been created during a world-wide crisis.

“And I hope the donations keep coming in. Every donation – big or small – is a huge help. Our kids need music. The world needs music.”

Pictured: Dane “Desert Danish” Scharff, one of last weekend’s Virtual Music Festival performers, during his live stream on Facebook.

Story First Published: 2020-04-24