By Nathan Ham
The next installment of the Virtual Dinner Concert Series will be happening on Wednesday night with a performance from Chuck Duncan at 7 p.m. All donations will go to the staff of Mike’s Inland Seafood.
Michael Greene, the founder of the Virtual Dinner Concert Series, moved to Boone in October of 2019 and quickly became attached to the community. In mid-March, Greene was in Atlanta waiting to take a trip to Costa Rica when the news broke that the United States borders would be closing due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Greene chose to play it smart and not take the trip. Realizing all of the potential implications that would soon begin to take place with businesses being forced to close and social distancing measures taking shape, Greene spent his drive back from Atlanta trying to figure out how to help the town of Boone.
“I thought what if we can find a way to give back to the restaurants? What if we host some virtual concerts and set up ways for people to donate money to distribute to the staff? I started doing some research to figure out how to pull it off and put it in motion, and now I think we’re up to about $8,000 in donations so far that we have collected,” said Greene.
The Virtual Dinner Concert Series page on Facebook is set up for musical artists to play a show on Facebook Live. Concert viewers can donate money to the restaurant that is featured for that week’s concert and people can also leave virtual tips for the musical performers.
“The concept is people would go buy food from the restaurant or bar that we are sponsoring and then take it home and watch the show from their living room while they’re enjoying the food,” said Greene.
Greene does most of the legwork by providing the online platform and providing musical talent.
“100 percent of what we collect goes to the restaurants. All they have to do is promote the event,” Greene said. “This is just my way to give back to the community and give back to those areas that are important to me: music and food.”
Starting next week, each weekly concert will be happening on Thursday evening.
Jim Mizner, co-owner of Mike’s Inland Seafood, is really happy to see the community coming together to support these local restaurants that really need all the help they can get right now with dining rooms being closed and many employees being laid off.
“We have some great customers and we’ve had a lot of help from the community to help out small businesses like us,” said Mizner. “I want to thank the musicians and everybody in the community. What a great place we live in where people do things like this to help each other.”
Mike’s Inland Seafood is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. They offer take-out, curbside pickup, and delivery through food delivery apps.
Lynn Mason, the owner of Lost Province Brewing in downtown Boone, was one of the first restaurants to benefit from Michael Greene’s virtual concert idea.
“I think music is such an important part of what we do and we’re really committed to working with our local musicians. It was fun to offer a virtual concert option and it was also something to help benefit our employees that we had to lay off. We had 65 employees on our payroll and had to layoff 52,” Mason said. “We’re using the funds from that concert to help with any emergency needs people may have.”
Mason says she is extremely appreciative of the support that Lost Province has received from the local community.
The community has been amazingly supportive. We’ve always said the local community is the backbone of what we do and they have certainly demonstrated that over and over,” said Mason. “We’re with everybody else taking this a day at a time and we want to do what is right to help get this pandemic under control and keep everybody safe and healthy.”
You can keep up with the schedule of events and watch the live concerts on the Virtual Dinner Concert Series Facebook Page.