Among the many aspects of society that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is that of live music.

There haven't been many live acts that have taken to the stage in Estevan establishments over the last couple years, but one local artist says that could change soon.

"I think now that some of the restrictions are being removed, it does seem like there is an appetite I think for both people to play live music and want to get back out there, as well as for fans I think there's also an appetite for people wanting to go and see music," said Jeff Michel,  a musician who was born and raised in Estevan.

Michel had one suggestion for organizers who might be trying to arrange live shows in the future.

"I think there's a lot more shift to maybe wanting to have shows start a little bit earlier," he said. "As opposed to cabaret style things where it starts at 10 and you're staying out until the early hours of the morning. I know that even in some of the panels and discussions that we've had amongst some of the industry, that there is a tendency for shows to want to start earlier."

Michel said there are signs of life on the live music scene in Estevan, including a former bandmate of his performing.

"A friend and former Estevan resident is part of a group called The Milkman's Sons which is playing this weekend at the Grasshopper (The Black Grasshopper). Michael's Coffee Shop is reviving their open mic nights every Thursday," he said. "So there are places in town I think that are starting to open up."

"There probably will be places like Gibby's and Art Concepts, places that used to host concerts regularly. If there's a need and if there's the artists that are willing to perform and the venues that are willing to take the chance and put the shows on...I think there is still some appetite from the vendors or the venue owners to have things back in and have people grace their establishments," he continued. 

Jeff MichelJeff Michel performs at the Gateway Festival in Bengough, Sask. in 2019. (Photo credit: Chris Graham/Chris Graham Photography)

Michel, who is a member of the classic rock cover band Shattered, says people in the southeast should be watching for shows not just in Estevan, but outside the city as well.

"It's incumbent on the public to keep an eye out for things that are coming to the area," he said. "Even just a little bit outside of our general area...there's things like the Happy Nun Cafe in Forget. It's been nominated and received awards as a Venue of the Year for SaskMusic."

"So there is within the span of a half hour, 45-minute drive from Estevan...there's a few places that definitely people could go and check things out."

Michel added that hopes to perform again in the future.

"I hope so. I am continuing to work on new music. Hopefully we'll have some more new music for consumption in 2023," he said.