The knock-on effect of the coronavirus is proving to be devastating for music communities worldwide, both economically and emotionally. Everyday we are waking up to ever-changing scenarios which are catching us all off-guard. Not only are we losing our livelihoods through the cancellation of gigs and events of all sizes but we’re also having to deal with the day to day stresses of finding food and toiletries in emptied supermarkets, and then there’s the fear of actually contracting the virus on top of it all.
As you’d expect, the Australian music community has stood tall in the face of the fear and many in the field are coming up with creative ideas to support the industry. Some of them are direct fund raising efforts, others are promotional ideas to keep music in the forefront of people’s minds, and some are getting political.
In regard to the fundraisers, the ever-helpful Support Act team is knee deep in the mix, involved in many different schemes which are raising funds for those in the music industry who are suffering severe financial hardship. Support Act is already being inundated with requests for crisis relief from people who have gone from having seemingly secure income over the coming months to suddenly having no way to pay their bills. Their Mental Health Helpline which provides free counselling to those in need is also reporting a surge in calls.
• COVID19 EMERGENCY APPEAL
Today Support Act has launched the COVID19 Emergency Appeal to accept donations from all sections of the Australian community. The target for the Appeal is $20million and Support Act has contributed $100k from its limited reserves to kickstart the campaign.
“We ask music lovers across the country to support this appeal where possible, to help us raise the funds that will be needed to meet the expected demand. This could be through a direct donation or by directing proceeds from your own fundraising activities,” the press release outlined.
“We also stand ready to work with all levels of Government. We hope they will recognise the special needs of this vulnerable section of the community and provide cash support to our campaign and to the broader entertainment sector. We also urge the Federal Government to expedite access to key government programs such as the Newstart Jobseeking Allowance.”
To donate, please visit our dedicated appeal page or follow the links from our website: supportact.org.au.
• AUSTRALIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY COVID-19 RELIEF FUND
Another fund Support Act is connected with is the Australian Music Industry COVID-19 Relief Fund
“For every concert and event that we’ve seen cancelled in recent days, there are countless people losing work. It’s not just the musicians up on stage, but the sound & lighting engineers, artist & tour managers, crew members, venue bookers, concert promoters and many more who all of a sudden have no way to pay their bills or provide for their families,” says Tim Charles of prog metal band Ne Obliviscaris, who has partnered with Support Act to form the Australian Music Industry COVID-19 Relief Fund to raise funds so that financial grants can be delivered to those in need.
A special COVID-19 relief fund has been set up by Support Act to support people that work in the Australian Music Industry via grants to help them through this time of crisis. Australian Music Industry workers can apply for financial grants from Support Act. Additional information on how to make a grant submission is available at: www.supportact.org.au
Alternatively, they’re suggesting that if you have a ticket to an upcoming event that has been postponed (and not cancelled), as an industry, we ask for your continued support by holding onto your ticket. This allows both you, the performers, and everyone behind the scenes the certainty of a rescheduled event – even if the date is TBA. The show must go on! #keepyourticket
• AUSTRALIAN MUSIC NEEDS YOUR HELP. WHO WOULD LIKE TO HELP? Facebook page
As we detailed a few days ago, also joining forces with not for profit Support Act, Artist Manager Charlotte Abroms, Sound Engineer Jono Steer, and Musician Angie McMahon have set up a Facebook fundraiser Australian music needs your help. Who would like to help? to get funds to those who need immediate help.
As seen in the response to the bushfire crisis recently, the Australian music industry rallied and donated their time and resources and raised millions of dollars to help our country in crisis. Australian music workers are part of one of the most vulnerable industries when it comes to job stability and mental wellbeing and is also amongst one of the most generous and driven by passion.
“As a manager, I’ve had to inform our whole team of multiple cancellations throughout the year,” said artist amanger Charlotte Abroms. “It’s difficult when there’s no timeline as to if or when their shows will be rescheduled. Angie and I talked about session musicians and crew and the people who live show to show. I’m speaking to people who are struggling to pay their rent, who are fearful for their futures, who have children to look after. We discussed the fact Support Act’s resources will be stretched during this time so we felt the need to do something for those facing temporary unemployment. It’s the collective mental wellbeing of our industry we are trying to protect. It’s an issue close to our hearts. Support Act are a trusted charity to help our fellow colleagues and friends who are most vulnerable.”
All funds raised will be donated to Support Act and donations can be made via Facebook fundraisers: www.facebook.com/donate/2689822821065306
Internationally touring Australian band The Cat Empire has also initiated a plan to assist with a different approach. Lockdown Get Down is a movement to help musicians increase available income to survive these turbulent times. Lockdown Get Down is aimed at driving music lovers toward streaming more of their favourite artists during the lockdowns that people are facing across the planet due to the COVIR-19 pandemic.
With their current sold out tour of Europe postponed after just four shows, and the subsequent cancellations of both BluesFest Byron Bay and Groovin’ the Moo, The Cat Empire had 17 shows cancellations in just 2 days. This represents over $750,000 of lost income for the band, plus amounting unrecoverable expenses. Uncertain what the future looks like, The Cat Empire know they are not alone with this devastating situation. With all public events cancelled for the foreseeable future, all touring musicians, crews and their extended networks will suffer enormous loss of income over coming months, with the current total declared to #ilostmygig sitting at over $150 million at press time. https://ilostmygig.net.au
Acknowledging the fear and uncertainty everyone is experiencing right now, The Cat Empire recommend we look after each other, get creative, integrate some inspired new ways to live more lightly on the planet, and try to make the best of this situation by having a Lockdown Get Down at home. With the likelihood that many if not all of us are going to be at home with our laptops, canned food, kids, pets and other loved ones, The Cat Empire propose we let music help us through our days from morning until night.
The request is simple:
Please stream more music.
1 Play your favourite music non-stop on your preferred streaming service.
2 Create a playlist; name it lockdowngetdown, and share it with your friends.
3 Post your Lockdown Get Down photos and videos with hashtags #lockdowngetdown and #thecatempire so we can see you all rocking out at home.
We’re sure there are many more fundraisers out there and there’ll be many more to come. For now, please check out the aforementioned projects and assist if you can