ALBFest, an online music fest, to kick off on Friday amid COVID-19

Fundraiser will showcase 25 performances by local artists like Sawyer Fredericks, SIRSY, The Refrigerators and Wild Adriatic
Sydney Worthley performs during the annual First Night Saratoga 2019 on New Years Eve at Saratoga Springs City Center.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Sydney Worthley performs during the annual First Night Saratoga 2019 on New Years Eve at Saratoga Springs City Center.

Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts

While so many music festivals and shows have canceled over the last few weeks due to COVID-19, ALBFest is just getting started. 

The online music festival, which is slated to run from Friday through Sunday, will showcase 25 performances by local artists like Sawyer Fredericks, SIRSY, The Refrigerators, Wild Adriatic. The performances will be live-streamed across multiple platforms.

Beyond bringing local musicians and community members together virtually, the festival will also raise funds for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY and the local restaurant industry. 

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The idea was sparked a month ago by Pearl Street Pub’s Chris Pratt and Peter Jones, co-creator of CoverBandTV, a recently formed studio that live streams shows from its studio in Rensselaer. 

Jones, who is a professional sound and lighting engineer, saw how COVID-19 was impacting local artists and Pratt was all too familiar with how it was impacting local restaurant employees. Thus, they wanted to come together and spotlight both industries.

Starting Friday afternoon, ALBFest performances will be streamed on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube and viewers can donate to the Regional Foodin lieu of paying a regular cover charge. While some bands are sending in pre-recorded shows, others will be playing live. 

“A lot of the bands are joining us via Zoom, which we’ve been coordinating with them, making sure the audio quality is as good as it can be. . . .Everything that’s been coming to me through the sound checks has been really good quality,” Jones said. 

The line-up features a mix of bands from various genres, including rock, pop, blues and funk. 

In between each performance, there will be short interviews with the bands and with local restaurant owners; Jones likened the format to a radio show.  

“We’ve got a vibrant restaurant and music community, especially on Lark Street, in Troy and in Schenectady and we’re just trying to celebrate all of that,” Jones said. 

He and Pratt are hoping to raise at least $10,000 throughout the weekend. 

“If we get 5,000 people to watch this and they donate $5 each — that’s not even a cover for a standard bar show — there’s $250,000 that we’re going to be donating to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY and to the local hospitality staff that now are suffering,” Jones said. 

People can donate at coverbandtv.com

Though Jones only started planning ALBFest a month ago, and only went public with it about two weeks ago, it’s already gained traction online, reaching more than 13,000 people on Facebook. 

If this weekend’s festival goes well, Jones hopes to organize others and to continue to host live shows via CoverBandTV, which promotes not only cover bands but original music as well. 

“We would love to see CoverBandTV become this online venue where we pay the bands to join us on CoverBandTV and we collect the income from donations and tips from people watching. 

Then we can become a support system for our local musicians . . . We’d love for them to join us and help them out at well as give our community just that sense of community that you get from being in bars and listening to live music,” Jones said. 

ALBFest kicks off tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and continues through Sunday evening. To watch and for more information visit coverbandtv.com/albfest.

Here’s a look at the schedule:
Friday
Calico Hotrod – 2:30 p.m. 
Sawyer Fredericks – 3 p.m. 
Erin Harkes – 4 p.m.
Katie Louise – 5 p.m.
Aidan Snyder – 6:15 p.m. 
Beth Stannard Stasiak – 7:30 p.m. 
The Refrigerators – 8:30 p.m.
Playback – 9:15 p.m. 

Saturday
Carmen Lookshire – noon
aCoustiK – 12:45 p.m.
J.J. Savage – 1:30 p.m. 
Chaos Magic – 2:15 p.m. 
Ryan Nilsen – 2:45 p.m.
Showtime – 3:15 p.m.
Frankie Lessard – 4:15 p.m.
Skeeter Creek – 5:15 p.m.
Tom Atkins Band – 6:30 p.m.  
SIRSY – 7:45 p.m.

Sunday 
Josh Casano – noon
Corry Loveday – 12:45 p.m.
Sydney Worthley – 1:30 p.m. 
Early Retirement – 2:15 p.m.
Alana Wyld – 3:15 p.m.
Jay Yager – 4:15 p.m.
BJ FitzGerald – 5:15 p.m. 
Wild Adriatic – 6:30 p.m. 
Rezon8 – 7:45 p.m. 
 

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