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UnCancelled Music Festival Supports Venues and Artists During the Shutdown

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Most music companies around America participated in #TheShowMustBePaused movement and gave their employees the day off to do THE WORK. But some did not.  Last Saturday I attended the Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in Los Angeles. It was very inspiring. For the first hour in Pan Pacific Park right by CBS studios and The Grove (and Canter’s Deli - my favorite), we listened to speeches by black community members. Namely, we heard from family members of people who had been killed by the LAPD and have yet to see justice. We all said their names together over and over again. There were so many names I didn’t know. 
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.

About 2 and a half weeks ago when the Los Angeles mayor shut down all music venues (and restaurants, bars, nightclubs and every public gathering), I was sitting at home watching his live address with my friend Ashley Maietta and a couple others.

I had a gathering at my house to celebrate a friend’s sync placement. We were going to watch the TV episode (with her song in it) live after the Mayor’s address. But we were left in shock when he issued the order that music venues were shutting down immediately and indefinitely. Over the coming days it was clear, this wasn’t just going to be LA. And it wasn’t going to be for a short amount of time.

Ashley and I called our friend Andrew Leib, a manager at Red Light Management, and we put our heads together on what we could do to help the global music community whose livelihoods were just shattered by cancelling every gig in the world. We were especially fearful of the music venues. Artists can engage their fans online and make money that way. Music venues are in the business of live music in a physical space. They are the lifeblood of the music community. The meeting places where the scene is formed, connections are made, lovers meet, friends are born, magic happens.

We put together this idea of a live-streamed, virtual, global music festival where music venues book the artists (like they normally do) and split the money raised.

We engaged the Recording Academy’s MusiCares – which established an Emergency Financial Assistance fund for musicians to apply for immediate cash. We called up the founder/CEO of StageIt – the OG livestream concert platform – to bounce our idea off of him. He was in. And we were off.

Fast forward just a couple weeks, we now have the UnCancelled Music Festival with over 10 music venues from around the globe and around 300 artists performing in just the first week. With hundreds more slated for week 2. And we have a backlog of about 300 venues that have applied to be a part of this.

The LA singer/songwriter staple, The Hotel Cafe, where Ashley and I have played the vast majority of our shows in town, was the first venue to jump in. And they jumped ALL in and booked an incredible lineup.

UnCancelled Music Festival Hotel Cafe Lineup

Believe me, we want EVERY venue. But it’s just the three of us getting this thing together.

And unfortunately, we’re human and have to sleep. And eat – occasionally. And there are only 24 hours… you get it.

But the message got out there. Billboard wrote about it! Forbes wrote about it! Consequence of Sound, Westword, Grimy Goods wrote about it. CBS LA did a piece on it. And today the 3 of us gave an interview with Rolling Fucking Stone magazine.

ANYWAY! This is nuts and amazing and exciting and terrifying.

But we believe in the mission of supporting artists and venues during this crazy time by bringing the global music community together so we can arise from this crisis stronger than before!

We are adding more venues, artists and stage curators every day.

Some of the artists performing at UnCancelled Music Festival include Colbie Caillat, Emily Kinney, Josh Radnor, Betty Who, Cailin Russo, Jukebox the Ghost, Kevin Garrett, JP Saxe, Ariel Posen, Josh Kelley, Mary Lambert, David Ryan Harris, Snail Mail, The Aces, MILCK, Ashley Hess, Grace Weber, Cautious Clay, Victoria Canal, Waxahatchee, Brian Fallon, The Marias, Beach Bunny, Madison Malone, Cary Brothers, Greg Holden, Joey Dosik.

Yeah. Pretty nuts.

We are planning to run this for as long as the crisis keeps our beloved music venues shut down. Or until we lose our minds. Hopefully the former.

But seriously, I’m honored to be part of such a beautiful music community and want to make sure that we get through this. Together.

Catch an UnCancelled Music Festival show TODAY.

Every ticket for every show is pay what you want (with the ability to tip). Get in there. Support your fellow artists and music venues: http://uncancelledmusicfestival.com

And if you’d like to play, have your local venue apply.

And if you’d like to help out with this festival, whether you’re a brand, volunteer or music lover who just wants to lend a helping hand, we’ll take em all. Please email us: [email protected]

About the Author

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.

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