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Live-streams and more: Entertainment during the COVID-19 quarantine

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In this screengrab, Sir Elton John performs during "One World: Together At Home" presented by Global Citizen on April, 18, 2020. The global broadcast and digital special was held to support frontline healthcare workers and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, powered by the UN Foundation. (WWMT/Getty Images/Getty Images for Global Citizen )

While coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, continued to spread across Michigan and the rest of the United States, the entertainment industry saw a paradigm shift. Movies, concerts and more were canceled as state and federal governments recommended against or banned gatherings of increasingly smaller numbers of people.

To alleviate some boredom during the quarantine, artists and businesses began live-streaming events on social media, while Netflix and traditional television channels offered special features.


South Dakota , the Mount Rushmore State, announced virtual tours:


Live-streamed events

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2020: The Ann Arbor Film Festival moved its events online, avoiding the confines of movie theaters.
  • Thursday, March 26: The MLB planned to air 30 classic baseball games on its streaming service on what would have been the organization's opening day.
  • Sunday, March 29: Elton John announced he would host a commercial-free concert on Fox TV and iHeart Radio. Performances would include Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, Tim McGraw and Billie Joe Armstrong.
  • Thursday, April 16 through Monday, April 20: Turner Classic Movies announced a special airing of their Classic Film Festival, which would include guest appearances from previous years.
  • Beginning Thursday, April 2, Dolly Parton said she would host a 10-week video series where she would read books to kids and families from the Imagination Library.
  • On Thursday, April 9, the West Michigan Whitecaps announced they would stream a "Fauxpening Day" radio broadcast, simulating the team's opening game against the Lansing Lugnuts as if it had gone on as planned.
  • Musicians including John Legend, Bono, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Pink, John Mayer and Keith Urban streamed concerts from their living rooms. Miley Cyrus began a live talk show, streamed daily on Instagram. Rolling Stone magazine partnered with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys for a new IGTV series.
  • The Grand Ole Opry began streaming its Saturday concerts live without an audience. A stream was available on their YouTube page.
  • A Kalamazoo artist, Benjamin Gauthier, began live-streaming concerts for kids and families daily. Shows included educational music at 11 a.m., and lullabies at 7 p.m.
  • City Brew Tours launched a live Beer Events at Home program including brewing instruction, virtual happy hours and more.
  • West Michigan Tourist Association announced a new live stream camera at Drummond Island. It overlooks the ferry dock. The ferry holds 36 cars and crosses one mile over the St. Mary's River.


Digital releases


Special offers

  • The NFL offered free subscriptions to its streaming service, Game Pass, through Sunday, May 31.


New features


Special programming

  • Stay Home #WithMe on YouTube: The streaming platform's new campaign brought together the most popular videos in a number of categories, such as cooking, music and exercise.
  • The John Ball Zoo began its Zoo Insider YouTube series, offering a special look at animals and areas around the zoo while it's closed.
  • The Pure Michigan campaign found a number of ways to help residents experience the state virtually, including museum tours and nature webcams.
  • Spotify created Spotify Kids, an app with 8,000 educational and just-for-fun songs made by companies like Nickelodeon and Disney.
  • JK Rowling announced Harry Potter at Home, a website with quizzes, games and other activities, as well as a partnership with Audible and OverDrive for free audio and digital editions of the first book in the Harry Potter series.