Local musician Meganne Stepka has been a notorious night owl since working a third-shift job at 18 years old. She finds it a peaceful time to make music and get things done.But ever since Governor Mike DeWine’s stay home order went into effect, she’s noticed a lot more company online with her at the wee hours of the morning.
“I’m on Facebook at like 3 a.m., and I’m seeing people active that I know have normal schedules,” says the singer and guitarist of Meg and the Magnetosphere. “That’s not right. That’s someone’s anxiety keeping them up or just being thrown off from their normal schedule.”
Knowing how desolate the social media landscape can be at those hours, Stepka wanted to give people something to occupy their time this weekend. So starting Friday at midnight and running through Sunday at midnight, the singer-songwriter is hosting a 48-hour live stream concert on Facebook featuring different artists each hour.
“Instead of people checking their Facebook and seeing all the news, I want them to be able to have access to live music, which feels even more real than just putting up pre-recorded videos,” says Stepka. “Most of the artists also picked slots where they’re up anyway, too, so hopefully, it also encourages people to find other people to interact with who are also up every day at 6 a.m. every day or who are on the same schedule.”
The singer-songwriter, who also hosts open mics such as Tuesday nights at Winchester Music Tavern and Manic Mondays at Kelley’s Pub in Lakewood, tapped into Cleveland’s vast music community to build a diverse lineup of 48 singer-songwriters, local DJs and electronic musicians. Some musical highlights include Michael McFarland, Ouster, Ed Bridge and many more, and the ever-growing list may also include a yoga class and live painting.
“The most fun part of organizing shows is finding other great artists to put on stage with you,” says Stepka. “We’re going to have a really diverse lineup of great artists.”
Inspired by other virtual concerts and music festivals, including Michelle Gaw’s Virtual CLE, Stepka also hopes this can be another way to support local musicians who have been hit hard by the shutdown of the gig economy. Participating musicians will broadcast themselves live from their own Facebook pages, and listeners are encouraged to buy merch, listen to their music or at least give them a follow. Each live stream will be reposted by event moderators to the 48-Hour Live Stream Concert Facebook Page.
Stepka, who hosted a virtual open mic on Monday with nearly 100 participants, says she’s been surprised by the way culture has flourished even under so many restrictions. Inspired by the creativity and resolve of Cleveland’s music community, she hopes this event can help others find hope and entertainment in these strange times.
"What a strange, quick transition [to a virtual lifestyle], you know? We're all being very resilient right now, and people are just adapting,” says Stepka. “I was so inspired by Michelle Gaw, and I hope one person is inspired [by this event] to coordinate something for themselves or for others.”
More Info: facebook.com/48hourvirtualmusicfest