Local artists’ job impacted by COVID-19

JACKSON, Tenn. — Joe “The Kernal” Garner is used to being on the road. He’s been a professional musician for at least 10 years and has been living in Jackson for at least 15 years.

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“For the moment, everything, I just kind of have a pause button on it which is a little disorienting,” said Garner.

He says having events booked months in advance is normal, but now it seems he’ll be staying home a bit more often. Local artists are starting to feel the impact of COVID-19 on their jobs, now with many venues and bars closing.

“I have a week or two when I’m at home, and then I’ll be gone for a month or something like that,” Garner said. “Then I’ll go down to the studio somewhere and just kind of keep everything on rotation like that, but right now it’s pretty much just staying home and trying not to infect anyone.”

When he’s not jamming, he works as a carpenter. He says some artists sometimes have to be flexible in what other opportunities they can do in the meantime.

“Especially for musicians it’s kind of easy to put your foot down and say, ‘Well this is what we do and we have to do this, I’ve got to feed my family,’ and this and that,” Garner said. “But it’s irresponsible.”

Garner says when it comes to booking events by June or beyond, that’s still up in the air. He says he knows the importance of social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Garner says to remember to support local artists, as well as each other, during these times.

“Let’s just all stay smart and, you know, watch out for the old folks, don’t be irresponsible,” Garner said.

To support local artists during the pandemic,  visit the “Seen on 7” section of our website for more.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News