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When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Governor JB Pritzker to issue a stay-at-home order, it effectively ended the live concerts.
Freelance musician Danny Bauer, 28, found himself with nowhere to work – or play.
“I was driving around town, going to grocery stores, asking managers if they needed music and other stuff and they all shut me down,” Bauer said.
When he stopped in his apartment in the old town the day he realized.
“I stopped and saw my porch, and I only saw this scene,” he said.
The idea of free live music every day was born.
Since April, he and his friend Jack Macklin, a jazz studies student at DePaul University, have been giving free concerts with a rotating cast of professional musicians, attracting up to 200 people for each concert.
“Our industry is up for grabs,” said Larry Kohut, a professional bassist. “You know, it’s kind of old-fashioned street.”
The concerts are free, but they place a bucket for tips and list a Venmo account (@ Danny-Bauer) for those with no cash.
“I think live music is one of the closest things to magic that we have in our society,” Bauer said.