It started with a phone call.
As the coronavirus gripped Columbus, Ohio, in late March, members of a volunteer organization called Can't Stop CBus, which formed in response to the pandemic, decided to launch a mobile concert series that could bring curbside music to residents quarantined inside. There was one problem. They needed a vehicle to make it happen.
Jordan Davis, director of Smart Columbus, called Rick Ricart, president of Ricart Automotive Group, to see if he could lend a truck.
"She said, 'We have this idea, what do you think?' " Ricart said. "Within two seconds of hearing about it, my first question was 'How many trucks do you need?' She said 'We need just one.' And I said, 'Well, you're going to need two.' "
By mid-July, he had committed three Ford F-150s to the Curbside Concert series, and they had provided transportation for 37 local musicians, who performed 450 concerts to older and vulnerable residents who remained isolated from friends and family.
But Ricart, 40, has played a more active role in the project than merely handing over the keys. When musicians kept blowing fuses on the trucks by plugging their equipment into the F-150s' back-seat outlets, the dealership purchased rechargeable, battery-powered equipment. Ricart himself — sometimes clad in a black leather Australian-Outback-style hat — has driven the trucks to their gigs.
Family members can submit a request for the weekend performances on the Can't Stop CBus website. The musicians will play from the truck bed at the curb or driveway for residents, who listen from their porches.
For some residents, the concerts have been about their only contact with the outside world during the quarantine.