Yeah, I am surprised to be writing this week, too. Usually this column is a summarized list of a handful of local live music going on in the area. As with many other large, public activities in the last week, most of those shows have been postponed or simply cancelled. So this week this, my usual format will not work. But there are still things to talk about.
If you are reading this column, chances are that you are in some way, a music lover. Whether you are a musician who relies on performing to make a paycheck or, like me, you are simply a lover of live music, a time without anywhere for live music is a weird and confusing time. Thank goodness for the Internet. Over the last five days, I have watched as musicians and music-lovers alike, from across the country have come together to create “virtual listening rooms” online (mostly Facebook), where friends and fans from across the country can come together in a virtual sphere to enjoy the music we all love. But it is not just for the benefit of the fans. As it is not a normal, ticketed show like one would hold at a venue, audience members have taken to sharing around the Venmo or PayPal of the performers and dropping whatever they can into what people have taken to calling “the virtual tip jar.”
As the Internet is a vast place, this is bound to be happening in more places than one, but you will find me at VirtualFestival, on Facebook as VirtualFestival or #VirtualFestival2020, and @virtualfestival on Instagram.
But if, in all this craziness, you are staying away from social media, there are other ways in which you can support the local and independent musicians you love. Check out their website; buy some merch or their latest album (or their whole catalog!) on CD. Stream your favorite music on the streaming platform of your choice. Leave it on, on low-volume overnight so it keeps generating plays and the musician makes more of the scant streaming money. Look for a donation fund like the one from Sweet Relief. You will not be running to Starbucks before work in the morning. Consider donating a week of coffee money to one of these causes or musicians. Even just send them a message, or an email and tell them that their music is what you are listening to during this time. Every bit of connection helps.
So far, the Alaska music scene has something in the works but not public yet. As long as there is not live music in physical spaces in the Anchorage-area, this column will do what it can to bring to light more of these different ways to support the music scene, from the quarantine…. I mean comfort of your own home.