Best Of 2021

Best embodiment of the show must go on: Nate Najar

Nate Najar

What do you do if you’re a jazz guitarist scheduled to perform in October 2020 as part of the reopening of The Palladium Theater and your wife calls to tell you she just picked up the kids from the home of her ex-husband, who informed her that he’d tested positive for COVID-19? You cancel, right? Hunker down and hope for the best. That’s not Nate Najar’s wont. He quickly packed some clothes, grabbed his guitar and checked into the Vinoy, played the Palladium show a few days later, then continued to stay at the hotel while awaiting the results of his stepdaughters’ COVID tests, which came up positive. His wife got ill as well. After seven days at the Vinoy, Najar moved into his recording studio in Largo, sleeping on the couch, ordering Uber eats, tinkering with some tracks. He stayed five days, then returned home. In all, Najar’s exile lasted 12 days and set him back about $5,000 when considering hotel bills and lost gigs. The Palladium show sold-out, though, and Nated played his heart out. Oh, and he never got COVID. And he’s fully vaxxed.

See all the winners from Best of the Bay 2021