Members on the Iron Range Raise Spirits with Facebook Group

If you’re from Minnesota, you may have already heard about Lockdown Lounge, a Facebook group started by USW member on the Iron Range Michael “A.J.” Grove of Local Union 6115 and his friend. 

The Lockdown Lounge Open Mic group is for live music lovers, musicians and listeners, who want to continue connecting through live music while in lockdown for the Coronavirus Pandemic. Not too long after the group’s conception at the end of March, fellow USW Local 6115 member Ray Pierce Jr. joined as an administrator and contributor.

Members of the group can post videos of themselves singing and playing instruments at any time, but on Friday nights there’s a line-up of live performers, and there’s only one rule for the group: keep it positive.

Right now, Lockdown Lounge has 14,800 members from multiple states and countries, some who just came to listen and others who are regular contributors, posting videos done in their basements, kitchens, and living rooms while stuck at home. 

Contributions have to be done in open-mic style and comments can’t be mean, keeping with the mission of the group: using live music to help each other get through a hard time.

"Even if you don't think you can sing very well or if you don't think you can play the guitar very well. Put it out there and take a chance," says Pierce Jr.

Both Grove and Pierce Jr. were happily surprised by how many people wanted to join the Lounge, which even caught the attention of local news channels (WDAY, KBJR, and Hibbing Free Press Tribune) that shared its story of rising popularity.

“In a time that we can’t all physically be together, I’ve never felt more close to 10,000 people in my life,” Grove said.

If you want to experience Lockdown Lounge for yourself, click here and ask to join.

Click below for one of Pierce Jr.’s performances (with his brother Ryan Pierce of USW Local 1938):

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