It may be the understatement of the decade to say that COVID-19 has devastated the entertainment industry, with in-person events and tours throughout the year forced to go virtual, get postponed or be canceled outright. For so many, though, music is essential and the thought of going another year without attending a concert is too heartbreaking to even imagine.

That's what Druid City Brewing Company founder Bo Hicks believes, and now he's working to raise money to press a vinyl record featuring Tuscaloosa-based musicians to sell at Oz Music, the city's only indie record store.

"Music has always been important to the Brewery. It's always been a huge part of my life, and I wanted to make it integral to the business," said Hicks. "I've become good friends with the now-owner of Oz. We both support the old brick and mortar shop, and we like to see improvements in the community."

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This project started last December when Druid City Brewing hosted a live virtual concert featuring Alabama musicians and other artists from across the country. Hicks said doing this virtually was enlightening, as he saw firsthand how the audience connected with the participating artists in a way he hadn't seen before.

Six of the performers from Tuscaloosa felt a similar connection to Hicks and the brewery after the event. It inspired Tom Rathe, Patrick O'Sullivan, Adam Ingram, Brantley Charles and the One Timers, Matthew Wurtele and Matt Bryant to come together and record some of their original music for one massive mixtape.

"That December concert helped keep us above water," said Hicks. "It was one of the most gratifying moments for us. We raised about $7,000 during that six-hour music concert. It was great to put a good face on."

Hicks is currently funding the production of the record, "Live From a Distance," which has raised about $1,315 with 18 backers as of Saturday afternoon.

The Indiegogo campaign has three weeks left to reach its goal of $4,000. The records, if pressed, will be sold at Oz Music, and the store will receive the normal margin on all records sold, with the rest split amongst the musicians.

Hicks said he's appreciative of the community response thus far. The project has received funding and promotion thanks to the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission.

"This is a great reminder of how a community can come together for a good cause," said Hicks.

Those visiting the Indiegogo campaign will see a list of perks including a limited edition numbered version of the album signed by all the artists involved. In total, Hicks says they'll be producing around 400 vinyl records to sell.

"It's been amazing seeing the support since we launched, the response was unanticipated," said Hicks. "Potentially later down the line, I'd love to have an outdoor concert at the brewery with the artists, under safer conditions. Plus, it's not the best time to sell cold beers outside anyway."

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