Put this one in the success column.
The Michigan Music Alliance’s first, all-online “Spread the Music Festival” — which featured live-stream performances by 40 Michigan artists in late March — raised more than $11,500 to aid the Michigan Artist Relief Fund, with thousands of viewers from across the globe tuning in to the sessions.
In one “wow” moment, Traverse City alt-folk group The Accidentals’ Sunday afternoon set aired via Facebook Live raised $2,000 in just 50 minutes and collected more than 460 comments from viewers from all corners of Michigan and beyond.
“It was like playing all the best venues in the state where everyone comes out to support what Michigan has to offer and the lineup was amazing thanks to Elle (Pellegrom, who organized the online event),” said Savannah Buist of The Accidentals.
“We watched a lot of the bands on the festival (docket) and so many of them we hadn’t had a chance to catch before. We have an incredible scene and Michigan is becoming known for that. It feels amazing to be part of that.”
Pellegrom of the Grand Haven-based Michigan Music Alliance and Crooked Tree Creative said it was impressive seeing “so many different artists from all over” in just a four-day period.
“Everyone who played has such a big heart, too,” she said. “They all volunteered, artist helping artist, and it was amazing to watch some of them really share what quarantine has been like for them.”
Money raised from the event will be distributed to Michigan musicians who’ve lost income due to performance cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic that’s scrapped tours and shut down bars and concert venues.
The sessions drew as many as 550 live viewers at a time, with many more watching videos of each band’s set after the performances were completed. They can be viewed on the Michigan Music Alliance Facebook page. Fans from as far away as the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and Germany watched the sessions for which the performers volunteered their time.
“The whole thing went really smoothly,” said Pellegrom, adding that the festival likely would be repeated next year as the alliance’s “new flagship fundraiser. Our goal is to make the relief fund sustainable so that when something happens and someone needs emergency help, it is there.”
The alliance so far has raised more than $18,000 in donations for the fund, with some of the contributions coming from viewers who’s tuned in to the group’s new “Songs of Support” live-streaming concert series that airs stay-at-home concerts nightly on Facebook.
So far, more than 40 Michigan musicians who’ve applied for assistance through the fund have been approved for grants and they’ll receive an average payment of $300. Applications and more information is available online at michiganmusicalliance.org.
Pellegrom said the sessions and live-stream concerts are a great way to stay connected with others amid the new social-distancing parameters.
For The Accidentals, who’ve been staging regular live-stream shows as way of raising money from fans via online tip jars, “it’s been bonkers. We feel like we’re still on tour,” Buist said.
“We’ve been stressed out trying to learn all the new platforms (to reach fans), but also that is our comfort zone so it’s been stressful fun. That’s how we roll.”