Best Bets: Virtual weekend includes concert fest, First Friday and Dover Days

Country/folk artist Bryan Scar, of Harbeson, is presenting the Dela-Cana Livestream Music Fest Friday and Saturday, featuring 12 Delaware artists performing on Facebook. (Submitted photo/Macey Holyak Photography)

With the weather warming, it’s a cruel reminder of what we would be doing this weekend if not for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In Dover, it would have been NASCAR weekend at Dover International Speedway, First Friday today and Dover Days on Saturday.

In addition, concerts and nightlife would be buzzing in local bars and restaurants.

However, it looks like another weekend of sitting on the couch, ordering Chinese food and alphabetizing the spice rack.

Although we are still forbidden from gathering in groups for activities, we’ll still be able to enjoy a taste of the those events online in the next couple of days.

A concert festival, a virtual First Friday, Dover Days and NASCAR race, along with a touch of Shakespeare and more are all awaiting those who open up their laptops or smartphones this weekend.

Dela-Cana Music Fest

The Dela-Cana Livestream Music Fest will play out tonight and Saturday night on Facebook where you can hear 12 Delaware artists perform their own blend of Americana and folk music live from their homes to your home.

Both nights start at 7:30 with each artist playing 25-minute sets. Tonight’s lineup sees, in order, Ian Kaufman, Sol Knopf, Jani Duerr, Tim Cooney, Clifford Keith and Bobby Lee Jones wrapping things at 10 p.m.

Saturday, starting at 7:30 p.m., will feature The Honey Badgers, Cathy Jane, Bryan Scar, Captain Mike, Walt Hetfield and Jim Rezac, in chronological order.

Mr. Scar, a singer/songrwriter from Harbeson, is the organizer of the two-day music festival. He said he got the idea from performing in another online effort earlier this month.

“I did a festival for Teton guitars, which is the guitar company I’m endorsed by. And mostly the artists were from Utah and California. And after I put that together, I thought I should do another one closer to home,” he said.

“So I reached out to a bunch of country/folk artists in Delaware and here we are now. Doing the Teton festival gave me the template for this one.”

He said he likes the idea of keeping to a certain genre of music.

“There aren’t a whole lot of country or folk (musicians) in this area. I like festivals that are genre-specific,” Mr. Scar said.

“I know it cuts a lot of people out but it makes it more unique in a way. So, that’s kind of the way I saw it and that is the genre I fall in so I do know more musicians. So I wanted to keep it in that kind of area.”

Mr. Scar, like many of the artists on the weekend bill, makes his living strictly through his music. So with venues shut down right now, going online has been the only way musicians are making any money these days.

“The artist has the opportunity to put a PayPal link or Venmo link up while they perform and that’s how we’ve been getting funding or tips as it were,” he said.

Mr. Scar has been performing online while he waits for the order that venues can reopen.

“Once livestreaming started to become more popular, I jumped on board and then kind of came to a part where everyone was doing it like every day and it’s like, that’s a little redundant,” he said.

“So I kind of took a break from it and that’s why I’m doing these festivals. You can wait a little bit to see the performances. You don’t want to oversaturate it.”

Bobby Lee Jones will perform Friday at 10 p.m. at the Dela-Cana Online Music Fest.

He said doing these livestreaming shows has been a surprising experience.

“It’s certainly been nice to see people give, especially during this time when people don’t have a lot to give. It’s been really eye-opening to see the community supporting art and we are definitely appreciative of that,” Mr. Scar said.

Another artist involved in the festival is Mr. Knopf. The Smyrna resident and Dover native will perform tonight at 8. He said he was happy to join the lineup.

“I’m glad we still get to do what we love to do. It’s a great thing. You’re seeing more of these. … And people can donate money directly to us if that’s what they chose to do,” he said.

In order to help offset a bit of the income that is being lost through this stay-at-home order, Mr. Knopf has also been streaming live concerts from his home on his Facebook page twice a month.

He’s found the support he’s received through these shows gratifying.

“It’s just a great community of people. It really is. For all of the differences that we have with our politics stuff, I think this is a really close community and everybody looks out for everybody. That’s my experience. I’ve noticed it multiple times in my life. But this time, especially where people are really stepping up in trying to make a difference. Because they understand that, for many of us, this is all what we do. And so when the government says, ‘Listen, we need you to stay home’ and that’s cool. ‘But, oh by the way, you still have to pay your bills and you can’t make any money,’ it makes it a tough thing. So a lot of people recognize that and they’re being very generous.”

Mr. Knopf isn’t letting this time of quarantine go to waste. He’s been busy recording an album of Neil Diamond covers. But it’s something he really never intended to do.

“I hadn’t really thought of doing an album. My thought was to actually put together a tribute show,” he said.

“I’m not a world-class singer. But the one thing that I do well is the Neil Diamond kind of material. It’s in my voice (range) so when I do this material, that’s the one thing where the people get their phones and bring them out and start videoing. They’ll say ‘Oh my God, You sound just like Neil Diamond.’ So other than my original stuff, that seems to be the thing that everybody keeps coming back to me about it

“I’ve done four albums’ worth of my own material. But I’ll be playing and somebody will come up and pick up one of my CDs, turn it over, they don’t recognize any of the songs, they put it down and they leave. So I thought maybe this is an opportunity, especially with Neil retiring because of his health condition and everything. Maybe this is something that people would really enjoy.”

Sol Knopf will participate in this weekend’s Dela-Cana Livestream Music Fest playing Friday at 8 p.m. (Submitted photo/John Mollura)

In January 2018, Mr. Diamond announced an immediate end to his touring due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. He has made infrequent public appearances since then.

Mr. Knopf has been using the facilities of the Smyrna Opera House to record to the album.

“The Opera House has just a magnificent grand piano and it sounds just outstanding. And then to have just the kind of freedom to come in (there) and I don’t have to worry about my neighbor cutting his grass or the dogs barking every time a car drives by the house or whatever. I can actually get things done and not be interrupted and I don’t have to interrupt anybody else either. So it’s been great,” he said.

“I’m hoping that by the end of (this month), everything will be edited and mixed and mastered and everything. I don’t know that we’ll have any kind of product by the end of the month yet. It just depends on how things go.”

He said he will begin to set up some crowdfunding soon for the as-yet-untitled project.

To watch and listen to the Dela-Cana Music Fest, search for the event and join the Facebook group.

First Friday

With this being the first Friday of the month, downtown Dover would have been bustling with shoppers and musicians this evening, all taking part in the monthly celebration. They had to cancel last month’s activities, but they are back Friday night in a virtual way.

Premiering at 5 p.m. on the Downtown Dover Facebook page will be a 45-minute video showcasing various downtown stores and local musicians. Merchants will showcase their venues and wares while each musician will perform a number.

The musicians would be in the stores performing on a regular First Friday evening.

There are also some fundraisers for downtown merchants being put together and also T-shirts for sale to help the business community.

“We’re going to do little tiny commercials about those and that way since people can’t actually be in downtown, they can virtually be there and see the merchants and they can meet musicians that perhaps they didn’t know come out on First Fridays,” said Diane Laird, executive director of the Downtown Dover Partnership.

“Each person has been asked for an approximately three-minute video. Shop owners are walking around their stores showing what you can buy through their website or by calling them and featuring some Mother’s Day gifts as well. It’s a way to keep downtown Dover and the merchants in front of the community. They’re certainly not open but most of them have gone into their store to to show their products. So we’re very excited about it.”

Merchants taking part in the video include My Roots, Delaware Star, Parke Green Galleries, La Baguette bakery and catering, Tina’s Timeless Threads, Sozo, House of Coffi and Bel Boutique.

Musicians performing are Daniele Lundin, Tom Hench, Earl Reed, Rick Hudson, Mike Milller and Mitchell Wiseman.

“It’s just an interesting spin on First Friday. When April rolled upon us so quickly after the shutdown, I just thought ‘All right. We know April’s not going to come through.’ But how awesome would it be to do a virtual First Friday?” Ms. Laird said.

“There’s no reason why we couldn’t do something to keep Dover merchants in front of the community and let’s have a little fun with it. Why waste an opportunity? Some of the best thoughts come out of a crisis or upset in the normal routine.”

Ms. Laird describes these times as a “crisis” for the downtown Dover business community.

“But I’ve been keeping in touch with a number of them. Their spirits are good. They’re excited to open in good time. Some are struggling and may not reopen. We just don’t know the status at the moment. I can tell you that we’ve been providing all the resources in terms of grants and loans and our resource partners that can help them.

But it is an extremely challenging time,” she said.

Dover Days

This year’s 87th annual Dover Days was to be held Saturday. It’s always a day of fun, pageantry, games, food, music and history. However it was another casualty of the coronavirus as plans were called off in March.

It was to be the first put on by the newly formed Dover Days Committee.

To keep the spirit going, the Friends of Old Dover are hosting a “Virtual Dover Days” Saturday to celebrate the beauty and heritage of Dover.

Only one other time — during World War II – has the event has been canceled.

Junior high school students dance around the maypole during the then-Old Dover Days in Dover in 1950. The Friends of Old Dover are hosting a “Virtual Dover Days” Saturday. (Submitted photo/Delaware Pubic Archives)

What was then called Old Dover Days began in 1933 as “A Day with the Storied Houses & Gardens of Old Dover” under the auspices of the Dover Garden Club (now The Friends of Old Dover). The Friends are a nonprofit organization whose purpose is “preserving Dover Delaware’s historic and architectural heritage for future generations.”

This online event – a collection of photos and memories of past Dover Days (courtesy in part through the Delaware Public Archives) and comments by special guests can be viewed on YouTube. A link will be shared on Facebook at www.facebook.com/friendsofolddover and the website at www.friendsofolddover.org.

NASCAR at Dover

The NASCAR boys were also supposed to be racing at the speedway. Although the Monster Energy Cup Series race is still determined to be made up at some point, it won’t be on Sunday.

The next best thing will take place when drivers will compete in the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series while sitting behind their computer monitors inside their homes, taking on a virtual Monster Mile.

The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m. on the race, which will be broadcast live on Fox and Fox Sports 1. You can also watch the race online at enascar.com.

Shakespeare Day

Another casualty of the COVID-19 crisis was Shakespeare Day in Milford. To celebrate The Bard’s birthday on April 23, Delaware Shakespeare was going to present snippets from every single play Shakespeare ever wrote in the course of one hour, in downtown Milford on April 16.

But since that couldn’t happen, the group is going online with it on Saturday. The event will be held at 2 p.m. on Delaware Shakespeare’s Facebook Live page.

Del Shakes typically presents a speed-round of every single play, using volunteers from all walks of life. That totals 38 plays from “All’s Well that Ends Well” to “The Winter’s Tale”.

It’s fun, light-hearted event that honors “the dizzying diversity and vitality of Shakespeare’s writing and our community.” It’s kid friendly, too. This year’s quotes will aim to focus on the themes of thanks, togetherness and healing.

Virtual Happy Hour

The Starboard Restaurant in Dewey Beach will hold a Virtual Happy Hour today from 6 to 8 p.m.

At a time when it would normally be open, the venue will broadcast on its Facebook Live and Instagram Live pages.

They invite you to “enjoy a crush, a beer, or whatever you like from the comfort of your own home” as they play some tunes and flashback videos. Also, you may get to see the faces of a few of the Starboard staffers and special guests who will be tuning in.

Delaware on TV

Finally, on the old-fashioned television, six northern Delaware attractions will be featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Road Trip Masters” Saturday at 7 a.m.

From left, ‘Road Trip Masters” co-host Brian Fulmer, Historic Odessa Foundation Executive Director Debbie Buckson, Historic Odessa Foundation Executive Assistant Jennifer Kostic and “Road Trip Masters” co-host and producer Nick Kessler.

The episode highlights the historic town of Odessa and some of the attractions in and around it. The places that will be featured are Historic Houses of Odessa, the Miller-Dunham House Bed and Breakfast, and Cantwell’s Tavern in Odessa; Battle Axe in Newark; Fort Delaware in Delaware City; and Hagley Museum & Library in Wilmington.

“Road Trip Masters” features schoolteachers Nick Kessler and Brian Fullmer on their tour of small-town America in a 1968 gold drop-top Cadillac. For a sneak peek of the episode, go to https://vimeo.com/412048977.

Now Showing

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the thriller “Gretel & Hansel,” Vin Diesel in “Bloodshot” and the faith-based film “I Still Believe.”


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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