Many within the Maritime music industry are optimistic for a return to centre stage in 2021, even with several COVID-19 restrictions still in place.

Nova Scotia-based musician Hal Bruce kept singing throughout 2020, even after most of his live shows were cancelled in March.

“That was it for the gigs, really, except for my FaceTime gigs and Zoom gigs,” says Bruce.

Signs of recovery for the industry are beginning to surface with festivals large and small being organized for 2021 – tentatively.

“It may happen, it may not happen because you need a lot of leeway time, a lot of lead time, to plan these things out to have the bands in place from all over the world,” says Bruce.

Other musicians, like Moncton-based Elvis tribute artist Thane Dunn, have seen their share of shakeups as well. Dunn, a world-renowned award-winning performer, had multiple North American show dates disrupted by the pandemic.

“We spent the past nine months basically practicing, and the only real performing we did was practicing here at home,” says Dunn, who notes he did have some opportunities to perform. “We did a drive-in movie theatre in Sussex, which was pretty cool actually, and we just did a worldwide pay-per-view event.”

With a show slated for Friday in Saint John, Dunn is anxiously anticipating his return to the spotlight.

“It’s Elvis’ birthday, so it’s going to be really cool,” says Dunn. “[Music venues] they’ve been so great with the COVID rules and regulations. It’s probably safer there to go watch a show than to go a grocery store.”

South of the border, musician Makayla Lynn – a Nova Scotian transplant living in Nashville – has changed her songwriting routine during the pandemic.

“You find yourself in a different headspace, and therefore you write in a different headspace and you create things in a different headspace,” says Lynn. “It’s a cool little bit of pressure that’s gone because we’re all just trying to survive.”