Ambassadors host virtual music festival to reconnect students

Jacob Frank, Staff Writer

When Madeleine Mayi’s parents told her that she would need a job, she put her skills to the test and took to the streets of Santa Barbara, pursuing her dream to play music.

Having played live shows throughout Los Angeles to support two EP’s and her next album, she reconnected with her Santa Barbara roots to play in the online spring music festival hosted by the SBCC Ambassadors.

“I am always happy to do things for friends and I love repping my hometown,” Mayi said. 

The Ambassadors believed the week-long online festival would be a good way to reconnect students sheltering in their home countries. It took place the week before finals week from Tuesday, April 28 to Friday, May 1.

“It was stressful to lose friends as they headed back to their home countries,” said SBCC Ambassador Emily Schatzel. “We felt there would be other students like us that would be looking for an outlet to relax from the changes.”

Among the lineup were Madeleine Mayi, Cassandra Mernier, Marie Barnete, Makenzi Allen and Tatila Krau. There was an intimate environment to each set compared to a live show, with five to thirty people attending each performance.

“I’m pretty comfortable playing stripped-down sets,” Mayi said. “That being said, playing in my house versus playing at venues is not even close to as good.”

In light of shelter-in-place orders around the world, hundreds of shows and festivals have been canceled or postponed. Artists have been taking advantage of online mediums to play virtual shows and keep in touch with fans.

“Because of the quarantine many artists are doing live sessions via Instagram or Youtube,” said Ana Pẽrez from Spain, who found out about Marie Barnete’s show from her Instagram. “I think it’s a great way to have a closer interaction with people.”

She believes this is a way to bring artists and listeners together since they can easily request songs or ask about the meaning of the song on the chat feature on Instagram.

“I really enjoy seeing and receiving so much love from the listeners,” Marie Barnete said, who’s been doing virtual shows once or twice a week. “Don’t worry about the pandemic affecting my music because I’m writing lots of songs and I’m really happy.”

Despite the complications from the virus, the artists keep working and playing for whoever is there to listen.

“I have had to cancel things like a tour this summer and some fall plans but they can all be rescheduled,” Mayi said. “Art will always matter so I am being patient as we all should be.”