How to support the local Brisbane arts and music scene during the coronavirus crisis
Brisbane, right now our beloved music and arts industry (among others) is in crisis. All over the world, musicians are being forced to cancel concerts and tours left and right to try to curb the spread of coronavirus. Industry bodies are tallying losses over $200 million in Australia’s music scene alone, and there will be more to come. While public health is paramount, the cancellations have affected everyone from artists to crew, management, promoters, agents, vendors, publicists, merchandisers, drivers, loaders, riggers and everyone else who relied on live events for their income. Visual artists have also taken a heavy hit to their ability to generate a living with city-wide gallery closures forcing the cancellation of upcoming exhibitions. We’re all facing a tough road ahead but if you are in a position to help, here are a few ways you can show your support to Brisbane’s struggling art and music industry.
Buy music and merch: One massive (and immediate) way you can show your love for your fav artists and bands is to wear your heart on your sleeve (literally) and buy their merchandise either direct from the artist’s website if they have the capability or through a platform like Bandcamp. Bandcamp is one of the world’s biggest repositories of independent music so if you’ve been eyeing off a record or eye-catching band tee, now’s the best time to snag it!
Stream your fav songs on repeat: You may not know this, but every time you stream a song or an artist is played on the radio, they receive a (very small) fee – yes, really! Although it’s negligible in comparison to ticket sales from concerts or sales from records and merch, it all adds up. The best part is that it’s something you can do easily and often so start compiling your playlists and set it to repeat.
Donate to Support Act’s COVID19 Emergency Appeal: As the most prominent music industry charity, Support Act has launched an emergency appeal to raise $20-million to deliver crisis relief to people in the live music and entertainment industries that have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Support Act has contributed $100,000 from its limited reserves to kickstart the campaign and is calling on the Australian public to dig deep. To donate, visit the dedicated appeal page or follow the links from Support Act’s website.
Keep your ticket: While you may not be able to venture out to a gig and show your support in person, one other way to make a difference is to #KeepYourTicket where possible instead of requesting a refund for any events that may have been postponed. This simple gesture will help the bands but also venues, booking agents and so many more people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, it will also give you something to look forward to post-corona.
Buy art: Again, if you are in a position to do so, buy art from your favourite local artist. Reach out to them direct to find out where you can pick up a print or take a peek at online galleries such as ART ST, which support local Brisbane artists, or Art Pharmacy, which offers affordable art by emerging Australian artists.
Go to gigs: Obviously not now but in the future, once the immediate threat of coronavirus has subsided, get off the couch and go to gigs. Support local live music venues. Buy drinks. Buy merch. Go to galleries and exhibitions. Buy art. Be part of the reason Brisbane’s live music and arts scene gets back on its feet because as George Bernard Shaw once mused, ‘without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable’.
Share the love: Send a virtual hug to your favourite artist via social media to let them know you’re thinking of them. Tell them what their music or work means to you – it might not help them pay the bills but it just might help put a smile on their face during a tough time and sometimes that’s all you can do.