- SA band, The Shabs, were left stranded while on tour in Europe when their flight back home was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The band were meant to fly home from Prague, but were unable to get back to the city when the Czech Republic announced that it had closed its borders.
- The group, who were in Hamburg, Germany at the time, were left in debt after borrowing money to get back home. The equipment they travelled with remains in Hamburg, and the van they rented in Prague still sits in a "random parking lot".
Local band, The Shabs, were left in quite a predicament in March when they found themselves stuck in Europe because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The group, who were on their European tour, had completed "about six gigs" with a handful more to go when everything came to a halt.
"We were on the road in Germany. We just started getting calls that our gigs were being cancelled," band member Ryan McArthur tells Channel24.
The Shabs had started their tour in Prague and were planning to make their way back to the Czech Republic capital for their flight home once their trip had ended. Ryan explains that they were in Germany when they eventually found out that the Czech Republic had closed its borders in an effort to combat Covid-19.
"Our outgoing flight automatically got cancelled," Ryan said, adding that they "could not get back".
The group had been travelling in a van which they rented in Prague. The rental, which also held their equipment, now sits "in a random parking lot in Hamburg". With no way of returning the van, the band could not retrieve their deposit from the rental company. Their instruments have now been taken in by different people in the area who are helping to keep it safe.
The Shabs were able to return to South Africa just one week before the country went into a hard lockdown. The cost of booking new flights, and losing out on potential earnings from cancelled gigs, sent the group into debt.
"We had to borrow money and get into debt to get back home," Ryan says, adding that the group did "not get anywhere near break-even" with the money they received from the shows they completed. Funds generated on tour would have been used to cover any expenses incurred along the way, and once that is covered, only then would the group have made a profit.
Ryan explains that the band then decided to launch a crowd-funding campaign to help pay off their debts. "That was amazingly received," he says, adding that they "raised over R80 000".
To thanks those who supported them, The Shabs released a music video for their track, I Feel Alive, which includes clips sent in by 130 people who contributed to their crowd-funding page.
Ryan says the song is about the difficult times in life that we all go through at some point.
The group was overwhelmed by the support they received in their time of need from friends, family, and strangers alike.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW: