Artist manager Charlotte Abroms has launched a fundraiser to aid arts workers who have lost jobs in the recent coronavirus event cancellations and suspensions.
Abroms – who runs Hear Hear, a management agency representing the likes of Ainslie Wills and Angie McMahon – launched the Facebook fundraiser today (Monday, March 16) with an initial end goal of $100,000.
At the time of writing, 70 people have chipped in so far to raise over $3,000. Find the fundraiser here.
All proceeds will benefit Support Act, an organisation that provides crisis relief services to all sides of the music microcosm, from artists and roadies to general music crew, promoters and event managers.
Amongst those affected are some of Abroms’ own team: McMahon (who was due to play the now-cancelled Meadow Music Festival) and Jono Steer, who is both a live sound engineer and tour manager.
Speaking to NME Australia, Abroms explained how in the last couple of weeks, she’s needed to inform Steer and other session musicians that majority of their upcoming shows have been cancelled. The remaining shows will inevitably fall too.
“There’s often no financial stability when shows are cancelled so far ahead of time, but in this case, they can’t be replaced with new shows just yet,” she said. “The uncertainty is what got us talking about a short-term solution.”
Partnering up with McMahon – who released her debut album ‘Salt’ last year – the pair are now using the fundraiser to encourage people to donate what they can and provide hope to vulnerable people who are struggling.
Abroms defines vulnerable people most affected by event cancellations as “those who rely on shows to remain financially stable and are [now] facing temporary unemployment.” These include artists, who rely on tours for the bulk of their income.
Read more: Australian music industry reports nearly $50million in lost income due to coronavirus and bushfires so far
Music is an industry that relies heavily on contracted and event-specific work, which translates to case-by-case income, Abroms explained to NME Australia.
“Angie and I specifically talked about crew and session musicians who rely on a string of shows and without them might be at a loss as to how they can earn income,” Abroms continued.
“We feel a lot of empathy for people in that position and hope this fundraiser is a tiny sign of hope that we can rally together and make a financial impact for those most vulnerable. It’s a digital form of connectivity while we’re social distancing to show that we are helping, and a reminder that Support Act can also help.”
Support Act will then use the proceeds to assist those struggling through a series of grants for expenses including rent, bills, sudden debt, medical and dental expenses, addiction care and mental health care.
Abroms maintains, “There’s a sense of human authenticity to Support Act that aligns very much with our morals.”
“Support Act does exactly what their name is – they act quickly to support those in need. It’s an issue close to our hearts and we feel they’re a trusted charity to help our fellow colleagues and friends who need it most.”
Those in need can reach out to the Support Act Wellbeing Hotline at 1800 959 500 or head to their website here.
Today marks the start of a nation-wide ban of non-essential public gatherings of 500 people or more.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison provided this advice on Friday, March 13, in an attempt to cut the risk of coronavirus spread through social distancing.
“It is precautionary. It is getting ahead of this to ensure that we can minimise the impact on your health and [so] we can ensure with confidence the ability for people to be accessing the health services that they and their families will need,” said Morrison.
The Prime Minister did not clarify how long the restrictions would be in place.
Several artists and festivals have pulled the plug on their upcoming shows and events as a result of the ban and continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Today, Bluesfest, Meadow Music Festival, Brunswick Music Festival and Wide Open Space confirmed cancellations or postponements of their events.