by Jacob Adams
Gainesville’s music scene has changed immeasurably since the outbreak of COVID-19 led to local guidance, and eventually mandates, that shut down the bars, restaurants and venues where a large portion of shows take place. Even DIY house venues have stopped hosting shows out of an abundance of caution.
Service industry jobs have evaporated as well, causing many of those who work in the service and entertainment sectors to lose their primary sources of income; the overlap among musicians and service workers is notable.
Many artists have turned to live streamed performances and are encouraging their listeners to donate to them directly to help keep their music careers afloat. Likewise, many Gainesville locals are heeding the call and doing what they can to help support artists; either directly through artist fundraising streams or by creating resources for the community to join in supporting local musicians and service industry workers.
Gainesville Tips (gainesvilletips.org) is a new resource that allows servers and bartenders to list their venmo/paypal/cashapp/etc usernames for patrons to digitally tip them while they’re unable to work in their restaurants. No numbers are available on how much has been raised by the effort so far.
Some musicians who have lost their favorite venues are working to help keep those spaces afloat with fundraising efforts. Kyle Keller (fb.com/kyle.keller.399 // Instagram: @kylekellermusic) is a local musician who regularly hosts a Monday night open mic night at The Bull. His GoFundMe campaign to support the venue started with a goal of $1,000 and has now raised nearly $4,000, thanks to Gainesville supporting its music community.
The Roadhouse DIY (fb.com/theroadhousepresents // Instagram: @roadhousediy) is a relatively new DIY house venue in town that has moved their productions online to keep supporting the Gainesville music scene. The venue is working with musicians to produce live streams that are safe for the artists and the audience and still bring a sense of solidarity and connectedness through real-time interaction during performances. They’re also developing new interview formats, with an upcoming series of song-for-song mutual interviews with artists over Instagram.
A new local volunteer-run 501(c)3 non-profit, MusicGNV (musicgnv.com // Instagram: @musicgnv), has a mission to support Gainesville’s local music scene by providing resources to artists and internship opportunities for folks to learn sound engineering, videography and show organization.
The concept for MusicGNV was developed before the COVID-19 outbreak and they initially intended to host shows to highlight upcoming local and regional artists, create live performance videos and assist artists in growing their audience and bookings by creating and hosting high-quality electronic press kits.
In light of the massive changes brought about by the ongoing pandemic event in this country, MusicGNV has pivoted to producing live performance videos with local artists who have lost income due to the closure of venues and promoting live stream performances to help the artists raise funds.
Donations made to artists through MusicGNV are tax-deductible and the organization has pledged to pass 100 percent of the donations on to the artists they are supporting.