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Musician Would Kill for Crowd Like the One Gathered Outside CityMD

BROOKLYN — Indie rock musician Kirby Wardle would do just about anything to get a crowd at one of his shows like the one currently gathered outside the CityMD on North 7th Street in Williamsburg, where he is currently waiting to take a PCR test for COVID-19.

“There are more people here than at all our shows in 2021 combined,” Wardle admitted, grabbing some of his band’s stickers from his backpack to hand to those near him in line. “I wish I could blame the small turnout on the pandemic, but it’s not like 2018 or 2019 were really much better. And it’s not just that there’s a lot of us–people are really paying attention. When the staff walks out to let us know how many more hours we’ll have to wait on line, most of us even looked up from our phones.”

Alanna Torres, another woman waiting in line at CityMD, confirmed Wardle’s assessment that the crowd was eager and enthusiastic.

“I don’t even really think I was exposed to the virus,” Torres admitted, lowering her mask to whisper more discreetly. “I live a few blocks away, and I saw on Instagram that the line out here was insane, so I put on a little brow gel and headed outside. There was nothing good on TV, and basically everyone I know got COVID at parties last week that I apparently wasn’t invited to, so I figured the odds were better I’d meet someone out here than on Hinge. And it’s totally working! That cute guy in the beanie totally coughed at me.”

Arisha Beltran, an events promoter who follows the indie arts scene in New York, said there are many aspects of CityMD’s promotion that musicians could learn from.

“The artists who’ve really been able to break out in this time are being strategic about how they get word out about their work,” Beltran said. “CityMD has been able to cultivate demand and even an air of mystery by making the fans work for information and access. They’re getting a ton of engagement across socials, because they are this moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ll be collaborating with Phoebe Bridgers or even Taylor Swift within the next year.”

At press time, Wardle was walking up and down the line, asking the hundreds of people waiting to stream his band on Spotify, claiming that “iIf a few hundred of these people listen even once, we could make almost fifty cents.”