Singer and songwriter John Duggleby hasn’t had a paid gig since March 14, but you can still hear him perform when weekend weather is nice if you find yourself along the Lower Yahara River Trail in McDaniel Park.
A writer and musician, the McFarland resident regularly performs more than 100 shows across four states each year. With venues closed to performers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Duggleby’s desire to perform didn’t go away.
“I can’t stop coronavirus, but I can play music to help people smile and make the best of it all,” he said. “So, I decided to try pop-up concerts, socially distanced just off the hike/bike path in McDaniel Park. I play covers and originals across genres including pop, rock, country, folk, world and children’s.”
Duggleby plays guitar, ukulele and handpan. He is also the author of 10 books, eight of them for young people.
Because these are not paid gigs, there is no set schedule.
“I typically play for an hour or two, on nice days Friday through Sunday,” he said. “Times vary with weather, temperature, etc.”
Duggleby puts his instrument case out to collect tips. He’s been donating proceeds from some of his performances to the McFarland Food Pantry.
“I plan to keep doing this as long as my usual venues aren’t open to performers and possibly beyond to some extent,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. Since everything is so unpredictable right now, I can’t put a timeline on any of this.”
In McFarland, Duggleby has performed at senior citizen gatherings, the library, Family Fest and Spartan Bowl. In Monona, he’s been at the Monona Senior Center, the farmers market and a couple senior living complexes. In Sun Prairie, he’s been at the library, Colonial club, the corn fest and several senior living centers.
“The virus closed all of my venues; I have not had a paid gig since March 14,” Duggleby said. “I’ve written some new songs and recorded them on YouTube videos, but what I really enjoy is playing to an audience.”
To learn more about Duggleby, his books and CDs, visit www.johnduggleby.com.