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Local band taps into new income streams amid pandemic

The home of Maddy Walsh and Mike Suave, located in Ithaca, NY. The two have found themselves spending more time here because of the inability to tour. In the past, the barn has served as a rehearsal space and a set for music videos.

COVID restrictions disrupt livelihood

For the Ithaca-based band Maddy Walsh & The Blindspots, COVID-19 has presented members with a troubling reality: no touring, no recording, no performing. The band’s ability to perform its craft has been heavily disrupted.

With restrictions in place, Maddy Walsh and Mike Suave, members of The Blindspots, have spent a lot of time at home. Their little red barn, which they would normally rent out through Airbnb while touring, has become a new haven for them.

The property has served as a studio to record and shoot music videos in the past, but in recent months it has become a space to create, rehearse, design, and perform virtual events.

When New York State shut down in mid-March, Walsh and Suave had to re-evaluate the entire state of their careers. Without a solid source of revenue from live performances, tours, and festival venues, they found themselves seeking innovative ways to help with overhead costs.

“We like to play shows, earn money, and go make records,” says Suave.

Because of state-wide restrictions, the band members found themselves eying alternate avenues to maintain their livelihood. In an effort to keep the band on the road, Walsh turned to the popular fundraising site,, to spread the word about the band’s troubles.

A call to keep the band on the road

On June 22, Walsh posted their story alongside a video which details the band’s need for money and the ways the earnings will be used.

Walsh writes in her post that “our van is the single most important tool we depend on in order to function.” The band members use their van, a vehicle that defines their business,  to haul a trailer of equipment and travel to shows.

“The van payments, that’s what we’re raising the money for, those never stop coming,” says Suave. “It’s funny because the shows stop, but the bill still comes every month.”

According to the band’s GoFundMe post, monthly payments on the van are $853, making up the majority of their overhead costs.

“We’ve never done one in our 11 years,” says Suave. “This time was a little different because we couldn’t go out and earn.”

Since posting in late June, the band has raised nearly $21,000 of its $45,000 goal.

Fans come together to support local musicians

The response from the fans and Ithaca community has been noted by all members of Maddy Walsh & The Blindspots.

“The response has been so generous,” says Walsh. “People had some really insightful things to say. I think there’s a struggle across the board right now.”


Despite the positive response, the fundraiser will soon end.

“We’re gonna do a couple more weeks with the whole campaign, but this can’t go on forever,” says Suave.

To maintain engagement with fans, Walsh and Suave have hosted a few virtual events in which they will play a set for a live audience.

“Online shows are fun, I guess, and it’s something that the fans can watch,” says Suave. “But it’s not like having the people that you love and the people that want to  hear the music right there with you.”

Despite the uncertain times, Walsh and the remaining Blindspots haven’t stopped searching for ways to stay connected with their audience.

“My widest-reaching format will always be through the music itself,” says Walsh. “I want these next songs to do that, speak. I’ve been trying to stay in contact with everybody and just keep in mind that it’s not forever.”

During these months off, Walsh has been working on two solo records, and The Blindspots just recently wrapped up a socially-distant recording of their upcoming album. Of course, Walsh and Suave find themselves listening to a plethora of music.

“Fiona Apple released a new record that’s just absolutely fantastic,” Walsh says as she thinks about the music that has gotten her through these strange times. “I just got Sylvan Esso’s new album on vinyl; I’ve only had one listen so far.”

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    Lexie tNov 4, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    I love Maddy Walsh and the Blind Spots! Love to see what they are doing for the local Ithaca community.