Virtual music festival fundraises for MI’s music scene

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This weekend, West Michigan is having its first virtual music festival as coronavirus has forced the music industry to get crafty and come up with alternative ways to provide entertainment for large crowds.

“Everyone is cooped up, needs something to do,” said Elle Lively, executive director of Michigan Music Alliance. “So, we’re providing four days of continuous music from your favorite Michigan artists on the hour, every day.”

The COVID-19 outbreak has canceled musical performances all over the world.

And now, this live-streamed music has more than 40 local music groups making up the loss by bringing their tunes directly to you.

“Everyone is livestreaming,” she said. “We’re going old school. Before Spotify and the streaming services, you had to buy an album if you wanted to support the artist. We’re right back at that place.”

And depending on how this goes, the alliance is thinking about keeping these virtual music festivals around after the pandemic.

“I really think it’s a cool idea for a fundraiser,” Lively said. “It’s obviously working. People are having a great time watching and playing. It’s really helping us not feel so isolated.”

Our state’s music scene wasted no time jumping on-board.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Well, we’re going to stream anyway, so let’s do it all on the same platform,'” said Jenna Olson, a performer with Political Lizard.

“I remember they asked us, and they had a little roster of who was already booked for times and stuff and it was pretty empty,” said Caleb Waldvogel, another performer with the band. “And an hour later, we went back to look at the times, and it was filled.”

The streaming has also brought fans closer to the performers than ever before.

“It’s a really cool setting to see everyone commenting while you’re performing and see everyone’s chiming in and maybe doing song requests or different things,” Olson said. “That’s something that we don’t typically get at our live shows; people aren’t like yelling out in the audience in the middle of our songs, so it’s kind of cool with the live stream that you get to communicate and just feel like you’re hanging out in your living room.” 

“Yeah, that is the best part: seeing an artist in their habitat,” Waldvogel said. “Not like a perfect, polished version. It’s just kind of you strip down the songs. You do what you got to do. love it, personally. I love the idea.”

It’s the future of music today.

“It’s forcing the future upon us right now,” he said. “So, we’re all adapting, but we’re doing it.”

The music will continue to play until 11:30 p.m. Sunday, with all proceeds going to the Michigan Artist Relief Fund

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