Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We’re in our Spring Fundraiser and you can help! Support KSMU programming today!
KSMU is dedicated to broadcasting critically important information as our community experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you'll find our ongoing coverage.

Area Musicians Invited To Perform On Facebook For "Queen City Shout Quarantine Open Mic"

(Logo courtesy Queen City Shout)

Eddie Gumucio, local musician and educator, and host of KSMU’s Wednesday night program “Beneath the Surface,” organizes a live music festival in Springfield every August, called “Queen City Shout.” It features area musicians, and raises money for local non-profits. During the current Stay-At-Home Coronavirus order, nobody is able to perform live, or go out to live venues to hear music. One of Eddie Gumucio’s friends shared a Facebook link with him that gave him an idea.                                                                                          

“The idea actually came from a friend of mine here locally—his name is Eddie Flores. He shared with me a link on Facebook of a group in Reading, Pennsylvania that was doing this. And they had started probably a week before I started the ‘Queen City Shout’ one. I looked at it, and it was just kind of a ‘lightbulb’ moment where I thought, ‘Hey, this would be cool to do here!’ The group in Reading, PA was basically promoting artists in Reading and Allentown and areas around there in PA, so I thought, ‘well, we’ll do the same for the Midwest, and for the Ozarks more specifically.’”

Eddie sent out a mass email to artists who had played in the live Commercial Street Queen City Shout over the years, inviting them to sign up for nightly online open-mic sessions, which he calls “Queen City Shout Quarantine Open Mic.”

“Honestly, Randy,” said Eddie Gumucio, “even though I was super excited about the idea, I thought, ‘Okay, we’ll have a group of about 200 people on this thing; they’ll play off and on, and that’ll be that.’ But we started it on a Thursday, and by that Friday night we had close to 1200 people in the (Facebook) group. And it’s been a week now, and we’re at just under 4000 people in the group.”

Those aren’t all performing musicians, of course, said Gumucio.

“I would say it’s mostly music fans. And really, other than taking the idea from this Reading group, for me, somewhat the same as Queen City Shout, the idea really is to, because of the times we’re in right now, it’s to keep that sense of community, and that sense of connectivity. I know a lot of people are feeling anxious, they’re stir-crazy, they’re feeling like they’re all cooped up. And so, it was the same reason why the group in Reading did theirs: it was a way to offer the community and the public something to sort of get their minds off of things, and entertain themselves. 

“And so we’ve been running this every night.  April 1st will be Day 12 that we’ve been running this straight through. And it goes from 5:00pm to 11:00pm every night,” explained Gumucio. “There are 30-minute slots, and people aren’t posting videos—they’re actually, it’s like a legit ‘virtual’ open-mic.”  They’re uploading their performances LIVE, in other words, “Yeah, go into the group (on Facebook) and click the ‘Live’ button, and they are performing for you from their home.”

Gumucio noted that some of the artists are equipped complete with public-address systems, while others “are literally just sitting there on the couch with their vocal and their acoustic guitar.  We’ve had families showcasing on there, like mom and dad and the kiddos, all playing different instruments. And as far as genres, it’s been everything from bluegrass to folk and country, to singer-songwriter to indie/alternative, very much in the same style of what Queen City Shout was trying to do with its yearly festival that we do in August. Yeah, it’s all live."

Gumucio said performing live online for potentially a worldwide audience has required “a bit of a learning curve” for many of the participating musicians. “A lot of artists (have) even made the comment, when they go live, they’re like, ‘Wow! I’m more nervous doing this than I am when I’m on stage!’  I think it’s because of, just the immediacy of, like, when you go live, to the Worldwide Web—on Facebook obviously, but within that realm of it. So it’s live music, every night from 5pm to 11pm.”

And what about the audience out there in Facebook-land? “Some people watch it on their phones, some folks stream it on their laptops.  I’ve had people send me pictures of (themselves) sitting on a couch with their family members or their significant other, watching it on their TV.  So if they have the Facebook app, or if they have a way of streaming it onto their TV, they can watch the live events on their television.”

Gumucio says he’ll continue the nightly live Facebook streams “until people get tired of it! We’ll go 5 to 11pm every night, and just post a sign-up sheet the night before. And it’s pretty straightforward. If there are any artists out there that are interested, you just go and join the Facebook group—it’s open to the public, so it’s free. The keyword is ‘Queen City Shout Quarantine Open Mic.’”

For artists who want to play live on Eddie’s Facebook group, he posts a sign-up sheet every day for the following night’s webcast—you sign up today to play tomorrow night, in other words.  “So it’s up in the ‘Announcements’ section on the group page. And then in the ‘Comments’ section the artist would just say,

‘Hey, could I play at 6:30?’ And before you know it, the sign-up sheet is populated.”

Like all of us, Eddie Gumucio hopes we can get beyond physical distancing sometime soon, but he would like to keep the online open-mic concept going in some form or other.  Again, it’s “Queen City Shout Quarantine Open Mic” at, and it’s live from 5:00 to 11:00pm every night.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.