On Tuesday, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians staged its annual HAAM Day fundraising event throughout the Texas state capital. As with the event since its 2005 inception, businesses and musicians throughout the city fundraised for the musician health care nonprofit. In an all-too-obvious first, however, HAAM Day dawned and set virtually.
Streaming via Facebook, Luck.Stream, and on channel Fox 7, the online performances kicked off at 9am with Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
“If we want to be the live music capital going forward in the future, then it’s going to take us all helping and stepping up to preserve this industry,” he offered.
HAAM CEO Reenie Collins echoed the sentiment later that evening: “Everyone in Austin has really been devastated by this pandemic, but none more-so than our musicians.”
Going in, the organization hoped to raise $600,000. For every $100 donated, an equivalent of $700 in health care services trickles down to local musicians in need. The livestream featured Austin musicians, speeches from HAAM administrators and sponsoring organizations, and even footage of the HAAM health clinic, all of it sprinkled with testimonials from members who credit the organization with saving their lives.
In fact, several musicians said that without the organization’s financial help, they wouldn’t have been able to receive health care for vital medical conditions including cancer, brain surgery, heart attacks, dental procedures, and pregnancy. Multilingual folk band Ley Line also praised the nonprofit’s practice of providing custom earplugs to live performers for hearing protection.
The event garnered over 23,000 views on Facebook across its four livestreams, and featured an impressive lineup of local Texan musicians. Standout performances included legacy blues act Miss Lavelle White, pop darling Mobley, jazz instrumentalist Margaret Slovak, soul singer Eimeral Sol, bilingual girl group Tiarra Girls, guitar ripper Jackie Venson, and bustling country juggernaut Asleep at the Wheel.
Each hour of the program switched seamlessly between live music, interviews, and sponsorships, allowing each artist on average only one song at a time, but that kept the livestream dynamic and engaging. Production varied greatly in intensity, setting, and audio quality. Some performances proved charmingly casual, like rocker Rosie Flores, who filmed herself in her backyard with nothing but an acoustic guitar and an overexposed (albeit beautiful) Texas sunset behind her.
Alesia Lani, meanwhile, sang directly into her computer’s web camera while sitting cross-legged on her bed, no instruments, as if the audience were just a close friend she video chatted. Others presentations exhibited remarkably high production values, particularly those that featured local venues including Saxon Pub, Historic Scoot Inn, Mosaic Sound Collective, Bud’s Recording Services, and the Bubble.
Many musicians also took advantage of the event’s remote format, such as country kickers Reckless Kelly, who performed beside a wood-burning fire in front of a mountain range, complete with an axe impaled in a pile of chopped wood beside him. Synth-pop artist San Gabriel played out in front of neon-lit refrigerators filled with beverages inside a convenience store with nothing but his electric guitar.
You can find links to all of the Facebook livestreams on the event page.
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