Kuala Lumpur live music space Fono seeks donations: “We have depleted our resources”

"We believe our small space contributes a lot to our creative scene"

Malaysian multipurpose creative hub and live music space Fono in Kuala Lumpur is seeking donations to cover overdue bills and fund a plan to stay afloat in “the immediate future”.

“We have depleted our resources and we need your help to keep the engine running,” the venue wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday (July 28).

Fono explained that the funds raised will be used to cover “way long overdue rental and utility bills”. The venue also says it has “come up with a plan to carry us through the immediate future”, a plan that “depends on your monetary support”.

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The donations will also be used to help the Fono team “pivot and find new ways to serve artists and music lovers while adapting to a shifting landscape that has left many members of our community disillusioned yet impassioned”.

Fono added, “We believe our small space contributes a lot to our creative scene; as a platform for artists, music lovers, and the community to discover, experiment, and exchange ideas.”

Fono says it “appreciate[s] help in all forms” and has since launched a fundraising page on its website. At the time of writing, Fono has raised USD$2,428.64 of its $10,000 goal through 87 donations.

Donations can be made in US dollars, Euros, or Malaysian Ringgit. Donors are able to select from three denominations – US$10, $50, $100 – or customise their donation amount.

Donors will receive a private link to Fono’s Spotify playlist – which is updated biweekly – alongside discounts to limited edition merchandise and early access to future events.

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In January this year, Fono revealed via a lengthy Facebook post that it was “struggling with making ends meet and constantly adapting to the ever-changing SOPs [standard operating procedures] in response to the increasing number of cases while fighting the urge to snap back to the ‘old’ ways of doing things”.

At the time, Fono revealed that it was receiving financial aid from the Cultural Economy Development Agency to “help out with our rent for the next several months”.

In mid-March 2020, Fono cancelled all programming for the month and announced its temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The live space later reopened in August 2020 in accordance with Malaysian guidelines.

Fono was first founded in mid-2017, and officially opened its doors at the Zhongshan Building in Kuala Lumpur in January 2018. The space has since been home to music, art and film lovers alike through frequent events such as DJ sets, art galleries and film screenings.

Fono is also known for hosting a wide variety of music-themed nights, ranging from its Resonance series, to its Cross Borders shows featuring guest performers from neighbouring countries. Fono would also occasionally organise performances featuring live bands such as 21st Century Spies.

Artists who have performed at Fono include Malaysian pop act Shelhiel, Rao, Kopigo, Analog K, Singaporean musicians Fauxe and Mediocre Haircut Crew, among others. As a music space, Fono has also hosted sharing sessions from musicians, music-themed workshops and forums.

Malaysia has so far reported 1.06million cases and over 8,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to Reuters. A total of 17,405 new cases were reported across Malaysia yesterday (July 28).

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