Camp Counselor Ashlee chats with SunSquabi on Playing it Safe in 2020

 (All images courtesy of Silky Shots)

COVID-19 had different plans for everyone this year but despite its challenges, Summer Camp staple SunSquabi stayed determined, got creative and continued to connect with their fans in new ways.
2020 was slated to be a big year of music for SunSquabi. Andrew Frost, SunSquabi’s tour manager, says the band was playing the best they ever had with the most shows, tours and festival sets scheduled than they’ve ever had before. SunSquabi started the year by hitting the ground running with The Floozies for the Dayglow Funk Tour. 
Then suddenly, COVID-19 began to rise and spread furiously, putting the live entertainment industry to a screeching halt. 
The Dayglow Funk Tour was cancelled and SunSquabi began rescheduling shows to later dates in the hopes that things would return to normal. 
As the severity of the pandemic continued to worsen, it ultimately became clear that the right thing to do was to cancel everything on SunSquabi’s lineup for 2020. While the band had zero intentions of taking the rest of the year off, the potential reality of not being able to play for a live audience slowly began to creep in.
Chris Anderson, drummer for SunSquabi, says that after the first lockdown the band began brainstorming ideas on how they could still push forward this year in a way that was safe for everyone involved. Drive-in shows hadn’t happened yet and they were itching to give their fans something to do at home. Driven by their passion for playing music and dedication to their fans, SunSquabi kicked off a 12-week virtual tour that was just as appreciated by those who tuned in as it was by the band members themselves.
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“The Top Down tour was a highlight of 2020 for us because we were still able to get together and create every week for our fans.”

Even though SunSquabi’s regularly scheduled tours were cancelled, Frost said that the virtual tour was an overall success and a big win for the team by allowing them to create a shared experience for fans despite the limiting circumstances of the pandemic.  

“The fans super appreciated it, just like myself, as lovers of live music,” Frost explained. “Having that taken away this year was a bummer and to have it come back in some aspect, even if it was just through a screen, was a really good thing for everyone.” 

As time went on, local governments and event organizers began figuring out ways to have socially-distanced, COVID-compliant shows. Although SunSquabi was more eager to play than ever, they agreed to only perform where they knew the event organizers were going to be responsible and have serious measures in place to enforce social distancing. 

“What comforts me about doing these events is when a venue has accountability,” Frost said. 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, measures such as reduced capacity ticket sales, designated areas for groups to occupy and roaming security to reduce the amount of social interactions between attendees have been put in place to make live events possible. So despite having to cancel, SunSquabi was able to pick up some momentum and went on to play at socially-distanced festivals and shows in Illinois, Wyoming and Colorado

“We were excited to be working with people who we trust, because although it’s not the safest time to be gathering it can be done the right way,” Anderson said.

In the midst of a global pandemic, drive-in shows and socially distanced concerts have now become the new norm for concert goers. The Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Fort Collins, Colorado is one venue that’s established stringent socially-distanced regulations and has been booking outdoor shows throughout the year. In September, SunSquabi booked a two night run at The Mishawaka that quickly expanded into a four night run after tickets sold out in minutes. The Mishawaka run showcased eight sets of music that consisted of new tracks, improvisations, SunSquabi classics and palpable gratitude from everyone who attended. 

“It’s been great seeing people bring positive energy to shows during this time,” Anderson shared. “People know things aren’t what they normally are but they’re happy to be able to do something safe like the drive-ins or table seating and it’s been awesome to experience that with everyone.” 

Despite the year’s unexpected challenges and unprecedented considerations, 2020 turned out to be more than just alright for SunSquabi with even more to look forward to.
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So, what exactly do the SunSquabi boys have up their sleeves?

For starters, new music and a new album. Although the band has not set a release date for the album yet, Anderson says there’s lots to look forward to in 2021 including events in the new year (if circumstances permit) and hopefully, an eventual tour. 

“This year has had its ups and downs for everyone, but we’ve still gotten to do what we love to do in a different way and are thankful for the opportunity and for everyone who tuned in.”

While programs and relief funds like MusicCares, the RESTART Act and Save Our Stages have been set up for the entertainment industry, our favorite artists and bands have never needed our support more. One of the easiest ways to do this is to buy merch and music from those artists directly, as well as tickets to their live and virtual events. With COVID-restrictions ramping up once again and the holidays approaching, now is a better time than ever to give in more ways than one. 
The music industry is at serious risk and it is imperative for entertainers, event organizers and attendees alike to make smart decisions and stay positive while we get through this together. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel but until we get there, please wash your hands and wear a dang mask.

Missing you all and wishing you health, 

Camp Counselor Ashlee