When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Gov. JB Pritzker to issue a stay-at-home order, it effectively ended live concerts.
Freelance musician Danny Bauer, 28, found himself with nowhere to work — or play.
“I was driving around the city, going to grocery stores, asking managers if they needed music and stuff and they all shut me down,” Bauer said.
When he pulled up to his Old Town apartment on day it dawned on him.
“I pulled up and I saw my porch, and I saw just this stage,” he said.
The idea for daily free live music was born.
Since April, he and his friend Jack Macklin, a DePaul University jazz studies student, have been playing free concerts with a rotating cast of professional musicians, attracting up to 200 people for each concert.
“Our industry is up for grabs,” Larry Kohut, a professional bass player, said. “You know, this is old fashioned busking in a way.”
The concerts are free, but they do place a bucket for tips, and list a Venmo account (@Danny-Bauer) for those who do not carry cash.
“I think that Live music is one of the closest things to magic we have in our society,” Bauer said.