Help LINK Picnic Support Artists & Keep Art Alive
We have all felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic whether it's through the loss of a loved one; loss of employment or loss of social contact, we have all suffered through this pandemic, some with family and some alone.
Many Industries have felt the impact of COVID-19, and the music industry is no exception. Live performances in particular have suffered a significant blow. Prior to COVID-19 local musicians often held additional jobs to supplement their income. In most instances, local musicians have lost their supplemental income, putting them in a precarious situation, where they have to choose between providing for their families or selling their instruments. Local musician Errol Blackwood, for instance, was forced to make that choice. Errol relates that “like most musicians I have a personal collection of axes and amps, and like a child, I play with them ever so often." He states, " I had to sell a few in order to stay afloat.” He relates that “like a child I hated giving up my toys”, citing “it hurts.” Errol states, "it is not easy to be a full-time musician in Canada. We are not taken seriously and [we are not] treated like other skilled workers or tradesmen." Errol does not think that things will go back to normal in the near future; however, he is convinced that live music will come back, citing “live music will never die.”
Musician eKhaya describes his period during the pandemic as one of recovery from composing and organizing live shows. Throughout the pandemic, eKhaya, like most musicians did not perform live, and he relates that “anytime a live band cannot play in front of a live audience, it is a hundred percent loss in revenue.” He iterates that “performing live is how we survive ''. eKhaya speaks about the loss of creativity he endured both with loss of contact with his fellow band members and his audience. He explains that the energy transmitted through digital media is not the same as in person. He connects with his audience through the energy that is created and when this interaction takes place creativity blossoms. eKhaya relates that he is “missing stage therapy” but he remains hopeful he will be able to perform before live audiences again.
Another musician, Rufus, echoes similar sentiment, saying that, as a result of the pandemic there has been loss of opportunities, creative space and revenue. He relates that COVID-19 has “impacted our art and the way we have been doing business.” He felt he didn’t connect with his audience through digital media, citing he had to “retrain himself in order to reconnect” with his audience. Rufus describes his experience during the pandemic to that of a roller coaster, adding he was faced with a lot of road blocks. For him, the process was a steep learning curve. However, he is thankful that we may be on the “beginning of the back-end of the pandemic.”
Errol, eKhaya, Rufus, and other local musicians depend on community and regional events to perform. With the absence of these and international events, they suffer a loss of income. The LINK Picnic Festival (LPF) is one event where local musicians get the opportunity to showcase their talent; provide entertainment and earn money.
LINK Picnic Festival event has also suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. The outdoor event, like most, has suffered from the loss of revenues from concession and local vendors who would normally participate in the annual celebration to learn about African, Indo & Afro Caribbean history, while enjoying music, food and dance. With the pandemic LPF was pushed to increase their reliance on digital media and services to stream the event, thus creating the need for and access to equipment for digital resources. Investment in digital resources are needed in order to be able to reach all audiences and keep up with the changes during the new digital era.
Last year, the festival was streamed on YouTube with very limited knowledge, resources and a dedicated team of volunteers. They have been adapting to the change despite the many obstacles and challenges. Faced with similar hurdles, this year on August 21 -20, they will apply lessons learnt from 2020 . This is where your support of any amount will help to lessen the challenges and more importantly, help to supplement the musicians' income.
Their goal is to raise $10,000 by September 4, 2021. Your support will make a difference in the lives of the musicians who support our event annually, and will help the event team increase their presence in the online community.
It could mean that Errol, eKhaya, Rufus and other local musicians can re-purchase quality instruments they were forced to sell.
Your support will go a long way in helping our artists feel loved, supported and encouraged.