If the COVID-19 pandemic had never happened, Sarah Vitort and Scott Gilmore, the musicians behind the Portland modern-folk duo Fox and Bones, would be playing Nashville tonight, then setting out for the second half of their two-month, 53-date national tour.
Instead, the pair are planning a different kind of concert.
This one will take place tomorrow evening, in the driveway of Vitort’s parents’ Prune Hill home.
“It was my mom’s idea,” Vitort said of the impromptu outdoor concert, which is meant to entertain nearby neighbors only and not draw a crowd during the height of the social-distancing measures. “That first sunny day we had, we were saying how great it would be to have an outdoor concert, then it started raining again, so we said, ‘The next day it’s nice, let’s do this.’”
Vitort, the daughter of Anne and Gerry Vitort, of Camas, got approval from her parents’ homeowners association president and said her parents and the HOA president have already helped get the word out to nearby neighbors.
“We have power inside the garage, so we’ll set up in the driveway and that will be our stage,” Vitort said. “We’ll be almost out to the sidewalk but still able to observe the six-foot rule.”
The band hopes neighbors will watch or listen to the concert from the comfort of their own lawns, but Vitort said there is a grassy area nearby where not-so-close neighbors could watch while observing the six-foot social-distancing requirements meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“We decided it would be a great way to boost morale in the neighborhood and maybe recoup some of the costs from the canceled tour,” Vitort said.
When the “stay at home” orders started coming down from individual states, Fox and Bones was already playing the California leg of their tour and preparing to do three more shows in Arizona the next week.
“We were three weeks in and had made it to San Diego when people started sheltering in place,” Vitort said.
The band’s last show was on March 14. After that, the duo had too many show cancellations — and were beginning to realize they too needed to shelter in place soon — to continue the tour.
Without a home in Portland to return to, Vitort and Gilmore took up residence at Vitorts’ parents’ Prune Hill home in Camas.
The band already had a loyal following of Camasonians since the Vitorts had been talking up Fox and Bones to their friends and neighbors since the band got its start in 2016, and Fox and Bones was performing monthly at Salud! in downtown Camas before the start of their tour.
“We were playing Salud! and having house concerts in my parents’ living room, so we’d amassed a fan base among the neighbors,” Vitort said.
Fox and Bones will play their outdoor Prune Hill concert tomorrow evening. For neighbors interested in tipping the band, Fox and Bones is able to take payment through several online vendors, including PayPal (paypal.me/foxandbones), Venmo (@foxandbones) and Cash App ($foxandbones).
The band also intends to livestream concerts in the near future. To find out about livestream concerts or for more information about Fox and Bones, visit foxandbones.com or Facebook.com/FoxandBones.
Although the cancellation of their tour was, initially, frightening for Vitort and Gilmore, who depend on the income their tours generate, Vitort said the duo has found some solace during the mandatory “stay at home” order.
“We both really needed this because touring takes a lot out of you, but we never would have done this if we didn’t have to,” Vitort said. “This has given us a chance to get creative. We’ve been practicing more and getting songs ready for the studio. And we’ve been eating healthier and getting into healthier routines. It was a blessing in disguise.”