In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and live event industry standstill, North Carolina based booking agency Midwood Entertainment and premiere event production company Codex Sound have combined forces to offer live music lovers a rare opportunity to experience top grade full band performances broadcasted live to their devices. Coined No Contact Concert Series, the weekly showcases take place just east of Asheville in Codex Sound’s 14,000 square foot warehouse. With the company’s busiest season decimated by pandemic-related cancellations and scores of audio and video equipment sitting idle, Codex production manager John Crawford saw where their resources could be utilized during the great pause. “[Artists] were dealing with the threat of not being able to connect with their audiences and, at the same time, struggling to navigate how social media outlets might be able to provide a solution. That seemed like the perfect entryway for us,” explains Crawford. With partners Josh Goodfellow (owner, Codex Sound) and Micah Davidson of Midwood Entertainment, Crawford and his team are committed to raising the bar for both viewers and performers alike in the age of the digital shift. “That has always been our goal: to ensure that there would be a way for [artists] to play the best looking and best sounding shows possible,” he notes.
Designed as a solution to the limits that traditional at-home live streams present, No Contact Concert Series has traded iPhones and dining room tables for a professional grade stage and lighting rig, venue-quality audio inputs, and 12 camera angles, though the team’s shared DIY spirit is still at the forefront of everything they do. Crawford notes that, “while we’re privileged with the quality of equipment that we have at our disposal, the grassroots way in which we approached this project has allowed us to experiment with how we treat a live show.” And while most digital festivals are confined to solo performers, NCCS has the space and resources to safely host full musical outfits. With a rigorous day of show sanitation procedure and restrictions regarding on-site personnel numbers, NCCS has dialed in a prudent manifesto that puts well-being at the forefront of their efforts.
Curated by Midwood Entertainment president Micah Davidson, whose roster includes the likes of Acoustic Syndicate, The Black Lillies, and Big Daddy Love, and is responsible for curating talent at the nationally-touted Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival, North Carolina Brewers & Music Festival, and other events throughout the Southeast, the flagship lineup for No Contact Concert Series consists of both veteran and up-and-coming acts in the region, with a focus in developing artists whose career momentum was put on hold in the wake of the pandemic. With shows scheduled to take place through August, NCCS is looking forward to presenting Billboard chart-topping bluegrass duo Darin & Brooke Aldridge, GRAMMY-nominated string outfit Che Apalache, psychedelic folk extraordinaire Tall Tall Trees, and multi-award winning songwriter Amythyst Kiah, to name a few.
In addition to providing artists a platform, NCCS also grants music industry and crew members a chance to employ their areas of expertise and engage in the kind of gratifying work that many have been deprived of. “Production teams, marketing teams, and management teams were all basically out of jobs when this virus hit,” comments Davidson. “We wanted to give agents a chance to write a new contract, a band the chance to play a live show, and give people a little piece of mind during all the chaos going on in the world right now.” While high quality entertainment is a large part of what No Contact Concert Series is working to provide, a core part of the mission is raising morale in an industry that has been otherwise gutted. Crawford concludes, “Live music is what we all do, not only for a living but because it’s what we love. When that was threatened, our response was, ‘No, we’re going to figure this out. We’re going to make sure there’s a way to continue to put out live shows in a safe and productive environment.' That’s where it all started, and that’s what keeps driving us. We learn and adapt each week so that we keep testing the possibilities a little bit with each show. And we’re going to keep doing that as long as we’re helping musicians find ways to play live shows safely.”
No Contact Concert Series airs Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM Eastern. For more information and broadcasting links, visit www.crowd-less.com. A schedule of upcoming performances can be found below.
No Contact Concert Series Summer Broadcast Schedule
06/13 - Darin & Brooke Aldridge
06/20 - Che Apalache
06/27 - Revelwood Mission
07/10 - TBA
07/18 - Tall Tall Trees
07/24 - The Fritz
08/01 - Cicada Rhythm
08/07 - Fireside Collective
08/14 - Amythyst Kiah
08/22 - TBA
08/29 - 49 Winchester