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Annual Rock Fix takes place virtually Saturday

Though Salon des Indépendants, the annual midwinter Hygienic Art show, has been postponed until summer because of COVID-19, does this mean New London will be completely void of celebration this weekend?

Not according to Rich Martin, one of the original pioneers who led the struggle to establish Hygienic Art in the first place. Martin now owns the Telegraph Records Shop and, 16 years ago, as part of the weekend explosion of downtown activities taking place in conjunction with Salon des Indépendants, he started the Rock Fix — an annual Saturday bill of disparate local and regional bands playing live inside the Telegraph.

Martin, in partnership with New London media business Creative Konnection, is taking the Rock Fix virtual this year, starting at 6 p.m. Saturday with an ambitious bill of almost 20 acts who have submitted live performance videos. The event will premiere on The Telegraph's YouTube and Facebook channels, and performances will be available individiually for viewing and sharing after the inaugural presentation.

"Back in December, I'd been talking with folks about how sad it was we weren't going to be able to get together for the Rock Fix this year, and it just struck me that we had to find a way to do something," Martin says. Though at that point it wasn't clear whether Salon des Indépendants could take place in some fashion, Martin says, "One way or another, I felt it was important that we keep the tradition alive on our end, so I put out the call, and the response was overwhelmingly positive."

In addition to his efforts at the Telegraph and on behalf of Hygienic Art over the decades — Martin was director of the facility for several years — he's also well known throughout New England as a musician, booking agent and record label owner. As such, the number of bands and artists wanting to participate isn't surprising.

Scheduled to take part in the virtual concert — with a few more acts expected — are Noah & The Flood, The Fiction Kids, Surgery Sessions, Balkun Brothers, daniprobably, Jeffrey Thunders, SG Carlson and The Tines, Nobody Ever Does, Christopher M. Listorti, Dr. Martino, Straight to VHS, Pocket Vinyl, Lawn Bastard, Son of a Fitch, Sonorous Rising, Ken Cormier, Boatweiler, N.M.E. the Illest with Stryfe, Anne Castellano, Addy Edwards, Suave-Ski, and Brad Bensko and Kat Parks.

Martin stresses that the virtual Fix performances go beyond just an effort to provide activity on Hygienic Weekend. The event is also a reminder that, pandemic notwithstanding, artists are still doing what they do.

"I really want to make sure we're doing everything we can to encourage artists of every stripe and discipline to keep working on their craft and give them an opportunity to present their work," Martin says. "These times are difficult enough without losing that community forum altogether. It's important not just for musicians and visual artists but also for the audiences who are missing the live connection with art."

In processing the submissions, Martin also says he was delighted and a bit reassured by the stylistic variety and talent that will be on display at the Fix.

"We're excited about the response from not only the New London acts but our friends from throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island. It seems like the ground is fertile, and there's going to be a lot of music coming along for all of us. We're just hoping events like this online iteration of the Rock Fix can help to be a bridge to live shows later this year."

To see and hear

What: Telegraph Records' annual Salon des Indépendants Rock Fix with almost 20 bands performing virtually, presented by the Telegraph in partnership with Creative Konnection

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Telegraph's YouTube and Facebook pages; videos will be available individually for viewing after the premiere presentation.

How much: Free

For more information: telegraphnl.com, (860) 701-0506

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