Amanda Jacobs checks in from her new digs in Austin, Texas.
When the Covid-19 lockdown began, local shows were banned, giving birth to a movement of hundreds of live music streams happening all over the nation.
With this shift, musicians dependent on performance income have come into great hardship. While some found certain benefits of quarantine such as spending more time with their families, many were left wondering how they would pay bills. Thousands of individuals in the music industry are dealing with financial uncertainty as the result of shows, festivals and entire tours being cancelled. Fortunately, these are naturally creative people, using their talents to bring innovation to their suffering industry.
It’s hard to believe that many states already are starting to lift stay-at-home orders. It feels like we are still at the beginning of the changes we will face, and while we may soon have the ability to get our hair cut again, that doesn’t mean concerts are resuming in the near future. The number of people gathering will remain limited, and musicians will continue to have to come up with creative ways to survive.
Popular artists such as Nahko (of Nahko and Medicine For The People) have been exploring their ability to connect with fans through live streams. Nahko has conducted weekly Sunday “services” through Facebook — LINK — and Instagram in a series called Medicine Tribe Television. Though some shows on the tour promoting his new album have been postponed, fans are able to pre-order the album on his website. The new tracks contain even more of that medicine for the people for which Nahko is so well known. If you watch his live streams, you will hear some of those new songs in a unique way.
Another awesome musician, Ron Artis II, has started a live series through his Facebook page called “2nd Thought” where he plays music with other artists and discusses with them what they’re going through as a result of live performance cancellations.
Artists also are conducting a lot of live streams to benefit nonprofits that are still working on issues around the world; causes that have not slowed down or become less important in the wake of the Coronavirus, but that have taken a backseat in media attention. Musicians are continuing to act as a microphone to a variety of important organizations that need their voice heard now more than ever. Ron Artis II will be among a fantastic lineup performing in Jack Johnson’s Kokua Festival, happening live from home this Saturday, April 25, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The virtual festival benefits the Kokua Hawaii foundation supporting environmental education; so don’t miss the 2-hour special event.
In Tahoe, the beloved music festival WinterWonderGrass was cancelled at the start of the quarantine. In lieu of the gathering, WinterWonderGrass released never before seen live footage from previous festivals.
Cali Roots, another festival that canceled this year’s performances, followed in that example. They are regularly live streaming footage from previous festival years, providing fans with the creative spirit they will be missing this year.
In the local music scene, many artists are creating and releasing original songs available for streaming on SoundCloud. Phil Carstens, a Tahoe resident, has two separate projects, one reggae and one hip-hop. His reggae song “Mind’s Eye” gives listeners a spiritual sense that everything is going to be all right… a message deeply needed right now.
While no one is performing onstage these days as bars and venues have shut down, music lovers can still discover and share online while musicians continue to develop new material and connect with us in every way they can.
If you are able, make donations to support the artists you love that are providing live streams. You can also become a member of Patreon, a platform that allows creators to earn income by providing exclusive content every month.
If you’re a musician struggling during this time, check out the free course “40 ways to make money as a musician” on udemy.com. LINK
Learn More about the Kokua Festival: www.kokuafestival.com
Watch the Kokua Festival on April 25th here: www.twitch.tv/amazonmusic
Listen to Phil Carstens’ Reggae Project: