RIGBY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A local couple who's active in the local music scene has found a way to keep musical performances live. Diana and Todd Thompson are the organizers of the COVID Concert Series Facebook Page.
"We noticed that people really needed music in this time of COVID." Diana said "I think that's kind of neat from a musician's point of view. Here's the musician and watching the comments come in and being able to respond in real time."
Within two weeks, the page had over 20,000 members in more than 80 countries, eventually leading to 34,300 members and has posted shows from Uganda, England, Scotland, Australia and Costa Rica., giving musicians and fans a way to connect like never before.
"There's a completely different set of nerves doing this because when you play a live show in front of thousands of people, especially an indoor one, you have the lights shining on you. Now, the spotlight is on people in their kitchens and living rooms," Todd said.
It isn't just the exposure that has wowed the Thompsons. While both have careers with INL, they realized that other musicians rely heavily on performances to make ends meet and have encouraged monetary support through the page.
"Todd and ourselves we don't make any money off of this page," Diana said. "We saw pretty early on that musicians were going to be taking a really hard hit a lot of them might not even have health insurance."
The Thompsons said the most rewarding show so far has been a fundraiser for Costa Rica. An individual from the country was seeking to organize a fundraiser to buy food for his village.
"Todd and I, at first were a little skeptical. What if we're getting conned here? What if we're putting all our energy into… I mean that's a long way away and we don't know these people. But we put our faith in humanity and it paid off big," Diana said.
As a result of this sponsored show, there was an outpour of support. Soon the Thompsons received a video of pallets of food that would be sent to surrounding villages in Costa Rica.
Despite its global reach, the Thompsons continue to focus on local Idaho bands by helping them set up events, working through technical issues, and mentoring them on getting the most views for their videos.
Diana has been named a recipient of Idaho's 2020 Governor's Awards in the Arts for the Innovation in the Arts category.
"Without Diana's site and endless encouragement, (local)musicians might never have played a show for more than a handful of people. But now, despite stay-at-home orders, they are consistently playing global shows on Facebook, which for the time being is quite likely the biggest stage in the world," the award citation reads.