Local female-led punk rock band The Von Tramps were fueling up their van for an eight-day tour through Texas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, culminating with a homecoming show at the VFW Uptown on March 22nd. The tour was aptly changed to the Wash Your Damn Hands Tour and had new challenges with the declared global pandemic Coronavirus. I caught up with Jenna Enemy, lead singer of the band, to discuss their hard decision to cancel and the new landscape of the ever-changing music industry.
“My biggest fear with all of this is losing the sense of community. We want to keep people healthy and safe and happy, but most of all not afraid,” states Jenna Enemy.
With what was going to be their first time at SXSW, The Von Tramps kept the interest of the service industry, employees, and people relying on them in mind when thinking about the tour. Entertainment is paramount in times like these. Taking your mind off of something that can be very scary and unknown, being at ease for a couple of hours, is important to mental health. Their thought was that playing small shows would be better because most of the bans are for 500+ people situations. After considering the spread rate of the virus and information from the CDC, the band needed to err on the side of caution.
So on the day they were planning to take off, The Von Tramps are cancelling their tour. Jenna shared with Music in Minnesota,
“Along with our dedicated peers in the music industry, we too put the health and well being of our fans first. Therefore we have to postpone our tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know many industry people are going to suffer wage loss due to the bands and cancellations so we would like to do our part to help.”
The Von Tramps are planning a live streaming concert on Facebook next week. In lieu of ticket sales and supporting the bars, The Von Tramps have made a special t-shirt with 100% of the proceeds going towards #SouthbySouthBest. It’s a chance to pick up merch and directly contribute to the workers and people displaced by the cancellation. The fund will be delivering relief to service industry workers in Austin and areas where the SXSW cancellation is felt most.
The Von Tramps all come from the service industry and understand that not many workers have good health insurance and healthcare. Getting tested for the COVID-19 strain is very expensive if you don’t have insurance. Donating to a fund like this gives them resources to get tested and keep everyone safe.
The homecoming show on March 22nd at the VFW with Los Angeles based The Dollyrots has also been postponed. Joe Holland with the VFW Uptown shared some immediate precautions his venue has taken with the virus. They’ve eliminated self-serve water stations, popcorn machines, and the build your own Bloody Mary bar. For music venues across the state, it’s hard to imagine the depth of impact this could all entail. Every day new cancellations are happening and tough decisions are being made to protect the community from this virus.
“Please stay home, please stay safe, and let’s not lose our sense of community with each other.” Jenna Enemy