Rockford music venues slowly welcoming back live performers

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – 2020 was a struggle for many live performers, with venues where they frequently perform being closed for long stretches because of the pandemic. But now some local bars and restaurants are reopening their stages.

The gradual return of live music means area musicians, like Mark Sturm, once again have a place to play.

“I’m excited because I have three shows this week,” Sturm said. “Things are starting to come back again, and I get a chance to do what I enjoy the most.”

Sturm says the local music scene has yet to fully rebound, but some Stateline bars and restaurants, like Rock-A-Bago Hall on West State in Rockford, are welcoming live performers as long as they follow safety precautions. The venue’s owner, Melinda Grap, says she already has musicians booked to play every Saturday through December.

“I enjoy live music and I enjoy promoting local music scenes,” Grap said. “A lot of the musicians work very hard to get their work out and promote their bands and just enjoy their audience.”

Grap says the return of live music has been good for business.

“Music, the best thing about music is that it brings people out, it brings joy to your soul, it touches people in a different way,” Grap said.

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