Musicians returned to the stages of Bendigo at the weekend with people happy to tap their toes and sing along to some classic tunes.
Veteran Bendigo musician Chris DeAraugo played at the Shamrock Hotel and was happy to be back despite the crowd was limited by coronavirus restrictions.
"Most of what I do is playing songs everyone knows," he said. "I put a bit of footage on my Facebook page because (the venue) was full of joy. It was just to demonstrate that people were having fun.
"People can't dance (due to restrictions) but seeing people singing and having fun is wonderful."
Mr DeAraugo said as well enjoying the music, people ensured they were compliant with coronavirus restrictions.
"Something I noticed, people had their masks on," he said. "I didn't see anyone not complying with rules, which says how much people value having a bit of fun.
"I'm sure someone somewhere won't want to follow the rules but everyone (I saw) was compliant and happy to have some normality."
Mr DeAraugo said he believed there will be plenty of opportunities for musicians to secure gigs going forward.
"There is going to be more gigs provided numbers stay low," he said. "I did a couple of gigs at weekend and venues are keen to get going.
"Musicians will have to work with venues but there is an amazing sense of relief that people can get out.
"We're all limited with numbers and restrictions, so you should be prepared to deal with venues. While working for venues (with limited capacity) I'll cut my price. If I expect full tote odds, it makes it harder."
Mr DeAraugo's optimism about venues eager to involve musicians comes as three Castlemaine venues secured grants to aid their COVID-19 recovery.
Castlemaine's Theatre Royal and The Bridge Hotel, along with The Red Hill Hotel in Chewton will benefit from the Victorian Live Music Venues program.
The program offers grants between $4000 and $50,000 to local music venues in an effort to help businesses, musicians and other music industry workers return to work and prepare for a COVID Normal future.
"Our music scene is much loved across central Victoria, the state and envied the world over," Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said. "This support will protect our grassroots venues, save jobs... and keep local music playing well beyond this pandemic."