One of the bright spots in Atlanta as it struggles under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic is Chavis Flagg, a guitar player who has turned the city’s popular Beltline trail into his stage.
Flagg’s impromptu performances aboard a Onewheel electric skateboard have helped double the 24-year-old musician’s social media following over the past two weeks and earn him some money during a time when live venues have closed around the city, he told CNN.
On Saturday, from about 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET, Flagg earned roughly $300 in tips from people stopping to thank him for his music and to request songs. Since he started playing along the Beltline roughly two weeks ago, he’s performed music by Prince, Jimmy Hendrix and Pop Smoke. Flagg’s equipment includes a small amplifier and two JBL speakers attached to the Onewheel.
Videos of Flagg have circulated around TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, collecting millions of views. The attention has gotten so intense on the trail, Flagg created a shirt with his Cash App and social media profile names.
“That’s what people really enjoy about it; a guy can be walking his dog and be with his girlfriend, and this guy comes up with an electric guitar on a Onewheel and play their favorite love song by John Legend,” Flagg said.
Flagg’s performances come at scary time for Atlanta. The city’s coronavirus case count has forced Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to roll back its reopening to Phase 1.
Phase 1 includes an order for residents to stay home except for essential trips. The city was in Phase 2 of reopening. Last week, Bottoms mandated people within the city limits wear a face covering. Georgia added a record 4,484 new coronavirus case reports in one day, the state’s department of public heath said Friday.
Flagg hope’s his performances help alleviate some of the stress the city is under.
“It was a little bit depressing, seeing people walking around with their heads down during the pandemic. It’s such a joy to be able pull up to somebody and they have no expectation for this to happen. To see their face light up, it brings me joy and I can see why it brings joy to others,” Flagg said.