Andy Matchett likens it to a family picnic.
Matchett, aka Johnny Wild of Johnny Wild and the Delights, and two members of the band have been performing private outdoor events in The Villages for fans hungry for live music.
Johnny Wild and the Delights’ last public show was on March 12, and since then, the group has been working to put together livestreams and sharpen up choreography.
“Then we entered that phase when nobody was doing anything,” Matchett said. “So we kind of retreated into revamping the website and getting into the business side of things.”
Now that stay-at-home orders have been relaxed, the group is performing small, private events.
Attendees watch from their golf carts and bring their own food and drinks.
“We make sure everyone is a safe distance apart,” Matchett said. “We do set up our merch table, but the way that we run it is donation specific, and we make sure cash doesn’t exchange hands directly. We have sanitizer and encourage folks to wear facial protection, but we don’t discriminate.”
Matchett said that the events have felt like a real breath of fresh air for everyone involved.
“It’s really intimate in a way that the square shows have not been,” Matchett said. “We can directly talk to these people. It’s a really nice time.”
The group performs as a vocal trio with an acoustic guitar, tambourines and cowbells, and sing songs they usually sing on the square.
Sandra Fundy, of the Village Del Mar, has booked the group for a couple events at her home.
“They were absolutely wonderful, and my friends were thrilled beyond belief,” Fundy said. “They put on a fantastic show.”
Johnny Wild and the Delights is one of Fundy’s favorite groups, so seeing them live again was a real treat.
Fundy also thinks that it’s important to continue supporting entertainers during this time.
“These folks have been out of work for a few months, and they’re exactly the same as any other small business owner,” she said. “We need to support them.”
Matchett said the group will continue to try to find ways to make the situation better.
“I’ve always taken a very blue collar approach to this business and this way of life,” he said. “So we’re just waking up and every day the team is talking about things we can do to improve the situation. … We’ve got a lot of cool ideas of ways to do this moving down the path, but it’s just a matter of finding people who are willing to participate.”
Read this story and many others in Thursday’s edition of the Daily Sun.