Isolated seniors get a bus-top folk show during the COVID-19 crisis

Seniors throughout the region will be getting free bus top concerts courtesy of Mixbus Studios and a series of local musicians. Carotte Polaire and Nicolas Fontaine played for the first week. SOURCE Mixbus Studios

Jacob Pomerleau and had no idea when he converted a vintage schoolbus into a recording studio two years ago that he and his band would be a source of cheer for the most hard hit population during the COVID-19 crisis, but sometimes you've just gotta follow the rhythm.

He and his girlfriend Isabelle Langlois, like all musicians, watched as the pandemic forced cancellations of festivals, shows and gigs across the continent. They realized, however, that they had just the thing that could help musicians and bring cheer to seniors unable to leave.

“This summer with the COVID we decided to do some shows for the elders because they are stuck in the residences,” said Langlois. “For us it’s a good way to present different artists and still be road-tripping and doing music.”

The couple also lives in the bus that runs by solar panels. 

Friday, the residents at Les Verrieres Du Golf in St. Laurent will be the latest to get a folk music show, the fifth of 31 bus top performances over the next month.

“We’re just asking our friends, musicians to play, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Langlois.

The couple usually travels around Quebec playing and recording.

“Normally we’re doing this at festivals, so why not use it during the crisis?” said Pomerlau. “It was just a good fit.”

The Mixbus Studio also found a way to help struggling musicians, whose sources of income have all but evaporated for the summer. The studio signed a partnership with Le Groupe Maurice, which provided some money for artists.

“It’s cool to give contract to some artists,” said Pomerleau.

“They don’t have any shows, so it’s a good way to present their songs and it’s new fans,” said Langlois with a big laugh. “It’s a different crowd, but they are so good.”

Being a rooftop stage, the bus can drive to all sides of a residence so everyone inside can come out and see and hear the show. The crew recently installed guardrails around the stage for better security.

“It’s so crazy because we’re moving the musicians on top of the bus, while we change inside,” said Langlois. “The people are dancing on their balconies, and singing the songs when we do covers that they know. They clap there hands and are really, really grateful.”

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