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Solvang’s Gig Musician Jerry Stickel Remains Hopeful During COVID-19 Shutdown


Unemployed Musician Jerry Stickel is very hopeful and he believes that when Solvang re-opens it will be busier than ever!

By Randi Soos

Music is everything to local musician Jerry Stickel whose livelihood and happiness depend on playing gigs locally here in Solvang. The charming Danish town is one of the busiest year-round tourist destinations that attract people from all over the world with its beautiful scenery, delicious restaurants, hotels, and unique gift shops. 

Due to the COVID-19 shutdown of Solvang’s town which includes it’s wineries, restaurants, and hotels, musician Jerry Stickel is currently out of a job indefinitely. Musician’s livelihoods rely on tourism and if businesses remain shut down so is their income. Stickel has played at many iconic places such as The Alisal Guest Ranch, Firestone Winery, The Maverick Saloon, and hundreds of private events over the years while living here in the Santa Ynez Valley. 

“My last paid gig was Valentine’s Day back in February, times are tough, but I am optimistic,” said Stickel. It’s just not Stickel who is struggling right now, thousands of gig musicians in California are out of work due to the strict social distancing guidelines and city lockdowns. The music scene has come to an abrupt halt and gig musicians are at a loss. 

Stickel recommends using social platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, and Itunes to share music with others during this trying time. Stickel is making the best of isolation and currently working on new songs for when the town re-opens. He’s hopeful when the town does re-open it will be busier than ever and people will remember how special this town really is. Some of his major influences include James Taylor, The Beatles, Cat Stevens, Kenny Rogers, John Prine, and other great artists from that era.

 “I really miss the energy from the people when I’m playing a live show, there’s nothing like it, it truly makes me happy,” said Stickel. “ Musicians thrive playing live shows especially with larger audiences because of the adrenaline rush, the energy, and the connection is more powerful.” 

Sitting on the dock” by Jerry Stickel.

Gig musicians have the opportunity to apply for relief through organizations such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistant Program (PUA), MusicCares program, Musicians Foundation, and