Isol-Aid 2.0, Bridget Hustwaite's Stay In and more ways to support music this week
In the face of the live music sector's most trying times in generations, people are stepping up to fill the blank and keep things moving.
We're not going to harper on about the constant battle being faced by Australia's live music sector at the moment, because we all need a bit of good news in our lives, right? Over the last week, the Australian music world and the people within it have stepped up to help out the sector in its time of need, whether it be major platforms like Bandcamp giving 100% of their revenue to artists across a 24-hour fundraising period (and breaking records in the process), or more localised and homegrown efforts, from Instagram interviews to Support Act fundraisers to massive, livestreamed shows.
There were a few highlights within that week, and it's really great to see that now a lot of them are coming back for a second (or in the case of some, third) time. This whole thing happening isn't a "one week and it's over and we can go back to normal" event, and nor should the efforts to counteract it be just held in one week, and that's something we're beginning to see. It's great to see it all blossom online too - while governments remain light-handed about serious measures like social distancing, it's great to see an industry find itself step up once again, even in times of hardship.
Throughout this week and into next, there's a tonne of stuff you can become involved with to show your support to Australian musicians and, in a more broader sense, just have a damn good time and chill out amongst the madness. Here's a couple we're plugging just to support our mates and give some options:
Isol-Aid (Round II):
One of last weekend's most spectacular events was Isol-Aid; 24 hours of live music stretching across Saturday and Sunday, livestreamed through Insta stories and featuring a tonne of local musicians both big and small. Whether it was Stella Donnelly and Julia Jacklin performing to crowds in the thousands, Angie McMahon covering Lana Del Rey and Bruce Springsteen, or performances by Cry Club and Denise Le Menice - the latter replacing a last-minute cancellation from Moaning Lisa - becoming stand-out favourites, it was a wholesome online festival built on community, and the sense of community that drives Australian music.
This weekend, they're stepping up for round two. It's a similar ordeal, with bands performing on Instagram Live for 20 minutes, before connecting or plugging through to the next act, who then plays for 20 minutes too; a back to back, constantly-going 12 hours of live music, running all day Saturday and then again on Sunday. This time, the lineup beefs up a little bit: Alex Lahey, Alex The Astronaut, Ali Barter, Big Scary, Camp Cope, Courtney Barnett, CXLOE, Gretta Ray, Hatchie, Jen Cloher, Josh Pyke, Middle Kids, Marlon Williams and Sarah Blasko amongst the names stepping up.
Bridget Hustwaite's Saturday Night Stay In (Round II):
Another event that ran last weekend was Bridget Hustwaite's Saturday Night Stay In, which saw the triple j Good Nights host and all-around live music legend run a part-interview, part-show series that felt like a music discovery television show brought to life through Instagram Live. It saw a bunch of Australian favourites - Adrian Eagle, Ali Barter, CLEWS, Cub Sport, George Alice, G Flip, Kwame, Spacey Jane, The Vanns and Vera Blue - have a quick chat with Bridget, then play a song stripped back to its most raw and intimate, whether it be long-time favourites or premieres of new music (Cub Sport, for example, played a song arriving this week).
This week, it's making a return. This time around, the lineup includes Lime Cordiale, Ruby Fields, KIAN, Tkay Maidza, Meg Mac, Slowly Slowly, Tyne James Organ, Gretta Ray, Didirri (and RO) and Jesswar, with each of these acts treating Bridget to a little song each, and a quick chat about how things are going in a coronavirus world. The last one was, much like Isol-Aid, incredibly wholesome and supportive - so we reckon this one will be the same too.
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Nic Kelly's Isolation Hour (Round III):
Artist manager / radio host / blog-founder / all-around internet force Nic Kelly is someone else who has stepped up to help promote Australian music in this time, also using Instagram Live to run a series of Isolation Hours - a one hour stint, jam-packed with special guests who join him for quick chats about everything from new music to home studio set-ups and everything else. Nic's someone who is always at the forefront of local, rising talent and that's something reflected in his Isolation Hour lineups, whether it be locals - Kota Banks, Cry Club, Northeast Party House, Hartley or even bloody Short Stack - right through to internationals on the cusp Australian fame, like Ieuan and Robinson.
He's done two of these now, and each one has been really, really incredible - packed full of laughs, little pockets of fun facts and plenty more. They're running twice a week now, with the next one - to be hosted on his Instagram next tonight, March 26th - featuring a bunch of great names from regions both far and near: Lovemedo, GRAACE, Airports, Phebe Starr, Yorke, Tuka, Tom Aspaul, Zoe Adore, Illy, Oh Boy, Tasker and Kalun Townsend capturing the future of music whether it be based in Australia, the UK or beyond.
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Keep buying music and merch from the bands you love:
One of last week's big music relief efforts came from Bandcamp, who for 24 hours on Friday, waived their revenue shares for the sake of supporting artists and getting a little more money in the bank. From 6PM AEDT last Friday to 6PM the following Saturday, 100% of the revenue from purchases on the platform - which particularly hosts a range of smaller, up-and-coming bands who would be severely affected by COVID-19's shut-down - went straight to the artists, and as a result, over $4,000,000 USD (aka over AUD$6.5 million) of money went straight into artist pockets.
It's currently unknown whether they're going to do that again, but regardless, it's a good idea to keep buying music and merch from the bands you love, especially from platforms like Bandcamp - who give a higher revenue share to artists in comparison to its competitors in Spotify and Apple Music. There's plenty of warm weather to come if you wanna grab some hats and shirts, or with winter soon approaching too, it's a good time to dig deep and collect some funds together for jumpers and socks. Or, just buy a record or two - up to you.
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