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Driveway gigs bring community together during COVID-19

Musicians have been hit hard by the coronavirus, as festivals are cancelled and live music venues close their doors to stop the spread of COVID-19.

But a growing number of creatives are using the power of music to unite their community during the crisis by streaming their performances online.

For the past few weeks, Redbank Plains singer Virjilla Joyce has been performing live from her driveway for her neighbours and streaming it on Facebook for thousands of others.

The singer-songwriter said she was thrilled with the response from her neighbours after she did a letterbox drop to let them know when she would be performing.

“It’s been really amazing,” Virjilla Joyce said.

“People have been sitting out in their front yards enjoying the music and raising a beer and kids have been dancing by their mail boxes, so it’s been a great way to connect while still doing the right thing with social distancing.

“One lovely man from down the street walked up to thank me and said it was just what he needed that day.

“I feel very blessed to be able to give something back to the neighbourhood during such a difficult time.”

Virjilla launched her EP at Springfield’s Ballistic Brewery earlier this year.

But with all of her upcoming gigs cancelled due to COVID-19, Ms Joyce has been using the spare time to improve her musical skills and master the ukulele, which she was given when she was pregnant with her now two-year-old daughter Willow.

“It’s a tough time, but I’m trying to focus on the positives right now and I find that music really is healing,” Ms Joyce said.

“The silver lining is the great connections I’ve made with neighbours.

“We’ve lived here 10 years but I only knew my next door neighbour before all this and now we all know each other and are planning to hold a street party together once we’re on the other side of this.

“I love that music has been able to bring us all together.”

Virjilla Joyce’s live driveway gigs are being streamed on her Facebook page each Saturday from 4pm – 6pm.

Ms Joyce is selling her CDs or merchandise through her website and she has set up a virtual tip jar for anyone who wants to donate.

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