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Thousands dance mask-free at UK live gig trial

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A crowd of 5,000 people cheered, danced and sang along to performances from bands including English indie pop act Blossoms at the sold-out event on Sunday at Liverpool’s Sefton Park.

Fans watch Blossom perform at a live music concert hosted by Festival Republic in Sefton Park in Liverpool, north-west England on 2 May 2021. Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP

LIVERPOOL – Thousands danced without face coverings at a music festival in northern England as the UK government permitted the country’s first post-lockdown gig.

A crowd of 5,000 people cheered, danced and sang along to performances from bands including English indie pop act Blossoms at the sold-out event on Sunday at Liverpool’s Sefton Park.

The festival was part of a pilot project by the UK government called the Events Research Programme (ERP) to test crowd safety at live events ahead of planned lifting of restrictions on 21 June.

Hugging a group of friends outside the concert tent, Matt Berry said they were “getting back to doing normal things that normal people do… finally”

“I think it is good to get it all started again to test if it can all work for summer, and if it will all go ahead in the summer as well,” said another concert-goer, Freya Begley.

The government has previously allowed limited numbers of supporters to attend sports events such as the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley. Researchers are monitoring how well different approaches to social distancing and ventilation work.

All those attending the two-day concert had to take lateral flow coronavirus tests before entering the venue and will also have to take another test afterwards.

They have to give their contact details to the state-funded health service so they can be traced if they test positive.

The bands performed in a tent. At the entrance to the venue, audience members had to show QR codes and Covid test results.

“There is no reason why anyone should catch anything so I am at ease with everything, I am excited!” said Jess Davis, as she arrived at the gig.

The prestigious Brit Awards ceremony on 11 May will also allow 4,000 people to attend London’s O2 Arena as long as they have a negative test result.

The UK has given more than 34 million people a first vaccine dose and there are currently 1,451 people in hospital with the virus according to the latest government figures.

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Gig Harbor holds procession for first female firefighter, paramedic after unexpected death – KOMO News

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California’s Proposed Worker Co-Op Model for the Gig Economy | King & Spalding

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Series 2, 10 in 10: Issue 2

In response to the rise in app-based gig economy work and the passage of California’s Proposition 22, the California General Assembly is considering the Cooperative Economy Act, which aims to introduce a worker cooperative model into the gig economy. This model would permit workers to group together in jointly-owned organizations, or worker cooperatives, that provide staffing services to gig companies. Workers for the worker cooperatives would be designated as W-2 employees of the cooperative.

Under the proposed bill, the California Labor Commissioner would be required to create and help maintain a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation operating under the name of “Federation of California Worker Cooperatives” (Federation). After the Governor of California appoints the Federation’s initial board of directors, the current intent is for the State to have no further involvement in the governance of the Federation.

Membership in the Federation would be restricted to worker cooperatives that comply with the following:

  • Uniform hiring and ownership eligibility criteria;
  • At least 51% of the workers (natural persons contributing to a worker cooperative) are worker-owners (a worker that holds an ownership interest in a worker cooperative);
  • A majority of the voting ownership interest is held by worker-owners;
  • A majority of voting power is held by worker-owners; and
  • The majority of earnings is distributed based on the quantity or value of work performed rather than ownership interest.

The Federation would be required to:

  • Set labor policies for its members, including for hiring, firing, promotion, discipline, compensation, and assignment of work; and
  • Provide all management to its members.

Under federal law, the Federation would be deemed the employer of the management professionals (an employee of the Federation that provides management services to members of the Federation) and each cooperative’s workers and worker-owners. Under state law, workers and worker-owners would be employees of the Federation and the applicable cooperative. A cooperative would be prohibited from directly employing its own management professionals.

If passed, AB 1319 could fundamentally alter the relationship between workers and gig companies. Although the text of the proposed bill is currently silent as to the precise interaction, the Federation would essentially act as the broker or staffing firm between gig companies and workers. It is currently unclear whether the bill will move out of committee this year, but we will continue to monitor and advise on any developments. Ultimately, companies relying on a contingent workforce should keep a close eye on AB 1319 as its passage could have immediate and lasting effects on business models outside of the gig economy.

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Bandleader looks forward to performing Westborough hometown gig

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

The Midtown Horns’ founder and bassist Greg Kojoyian performs July 15 at the Wood Park Music Shell in Hudson.
The Midtown Horns’ founder and bassist Greg Kojoyian performs July 15 at the Wood Park Music Shell in Hudson.
(Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.)

WESTBOROUGH – Greg Kojoyian began honing his musical skills while in grades four through 12 in Westborough public schools. Several decades later, he’s now the founder, bassist and bandleader of The Midtown Horns.

In recent years, Kojoyian’s band has endured multiple concert cancellations due to inclement weather, the EEE threat and pandemic restrictions. Nevertheless, he is hopeful that The Midtown Horns’ show will go on as scheduled on Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Westborough’s Bay State Commons.

“Playing in my hometown is special for me,” he noted. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

 

Westborough’s instrumental years 

Kojoyian learned to play trumpet as a fourth-grader inspired by the late Larry Forand. A professional trumpeter, Forand also worked full-time as the music director for Westborough’s entire school district.

“He was a great guy with an infectious ability to get everybody excited to do music,” Kojoyian said of his mentor.

In high school, Kojoyian also learned to play bass guitar. Then, his inspiration came from pop culture.

“You saw The Beatles running down the street with girls chasing them – but the girls weren’t chasing trumpet players,” he recalled. “I started getting into rock bands.”

Among his teen-era endeavors was a rock band called Pulse, which included horn players. They covered hit songs of bands such as Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. Pulse’s performance venues ranged from dances at the Westborough Town Hall to high school graduation parties.

Continuing with a horn-based band

Kojoyian describes The Midtown Horns as the “direct descendant” of Pulse. 

“Probably because I was originally a trumpet player, I’ve always liked the big sound of bands with horns,” he explained. “Pulse spurred my lifelong passion for horn-based bands.”

The Midtown Horns typically includes 14 to 16 musicians. Their repertoire features contemporary, Motown, funk, rhythm and blues, soul and Latin genres.

They debuted at a Southborough summer concert in 2017.

Also in 2017, the band performed at Bay Stay Commons following the grand parade to celebrate Westborough’s 300th anniversary. Performing the concert was a chance for Kojoyian to represent his family’s town pride. 

“I only wish my dad could have seen us play at the celebration,” he said. “My dad loved Westborough.”

His late father, Sarkis Kojoyian, had served on the Westborough Planning Board as well as other town boards and committees.

Gigging year-round

In addition to outdoor summer concerts, The Midtown Horns entertain year-round at various venues.

“The summertime concerts are essentially our showcase,” Kojoyian noted. “We perform at weddings, benefits, corporate events and hotels. Very few nightclubs can fit us on their stage.”

Despite several unavoidable summer 2019 cancellations, Kojoyian considered it “a banner year” for the band. 

As a favorite 2019 gig, he cites their concert at Gloucester’s annual Labor Day weekend celebration. The Midtown Horns performed amid the Schooner Festival’s Boat Parade of Lights and fireworks over Gloucester Harbor. 

“It’s a really great event,” Kojoyian said of Gloucester’s holiday festivities. “We’re doing it again this year – thankfully!” 

Their busy 2019 schedule culminated with a show in December at the Encore Casino in Everett. Pandemic restrictions canceled the band’s 2020 gigs.

Entertaining audiences again

The Midtown Horns’ return to the stage took place at Wood Park in Hudson. After getting rained out July 7 and 12, they entertained an appreciative audience under clear skies on July 15.

“It felt great,” Kojoyian said of their first live show in 18 months. “It’s almost like a dream that a whole year and a half went by.”

Another dream job for Kojoyian is The Midtown Horns’ upcoming concert in Westborough – his hometown.

“My musical roots are in Westborough,” he added.

Learn more about The Midtown Horns at themidtownhorns.com and Facebook

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Summer Concert Series welcomes ‘Southbound Train’ to Marlborough (communityadvocate.com)

 

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