There are few communities that come together in a crisis better than musicians and music industry professionals.
It makes sense, really. The high-stress environment surrounding these individuals trying to make a living around live music are built on organizing events, hauling gear, being amateur electricians and carpenters and more. To survive in the business, they are forced to become marketing gurus, social media savants and word-of-mouth networking svengalis.
In other words, they are great people to have around in a disaster like Hurricane Harvey and many from the Houston music scene are already using their talents and connections to help those in need, whether it’s arranging for food to be delivered to shelters or directing people to appropriate medical care.
“There’s probably a multitude of reasons, but with shows or festivals, there’s always sense of unknown and they need people who can handle that,” said Jagi Katial, managing partner at White Oak Music Hall. “Day in and day out, they are juggling a lot of things at the same time to make a show happen and they have the skills to help in times like this. Also, people in music have big hearts so I’m not surprised they are helping.”
Harvey rolled through Houston this week like your drunk uncle that overstays his visit. Thankfully, the music gods were relatively kind as a majority of music venues were spared major destruction. That doesn’t mean business as usual, however. Relief shows and fundraisers are starting to pop up despite water still drenching portions of the city to help the many effected by the storm's damage.
As Pete Gordon, owner of the Continental Club, stated plainly, it’s all about “fixing people’s houses during the day and playing music at night.”
Both the Continental Club and White Oak are two venues doing their part to give back to their community this week.
Relief show starring Archie Bell
Other than lost nights, Gordon’s revered venue was spared Harvey’s wrath and will be back on schedule starting Thursday doing what it does best — entertaining people. It will host a relief show Saturday with the legendary Archie Bell, whose classic 1968 hit "Tighten Up" opens with an inconic salute to Houston.
Doors open at 8 pm. The show is free but donations are suggested. All monetary and non-perishable food item donations will be given to the Houston Food Bank.
Harvey relief fund for Houston musicians
White Oak is up and running this Friday, having to indefinitely postpone a much anticipated appearance by critically acclaimed electro-indie duo act Sylvan Esso Thursday night. Before Harvey staggered into Houston, staff of White Oak, concert promoter Pegstar Concerts and non-profit organization Friends of Little White Oak Bayou launched the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to benefit the Houston live music community.
The goal is to raise $50,000 for live music venue employees who suffered lost property and wages due to Harvey. This will be done through direct funding, a live auction with items donated from artists such as Diplo and Twin Shadow, and concert proceeds. Donations are tax deductible.
Thus far, more than $21,000 has been raised.
“From there it will be distributed to those who work in the live music industry that have lost work,” said Katial. “If you think of it, we cancelled a week of shows, House of Blues cancelled a week of shows, all lot of other venues cancelled shows. That’s a couple hundreds of work shifts for a lot of people who have to pay their rent, that lost homes, that have to pay for their kids to go back to school.”
Anyone wishing to donate can visit the Harvey Hurricane Relief Fund website.
“The feedback was there is going to be a lot of fundraising happening in Houston,” Katial said about the idea for the fund. “Sometimes the people in our community are going to be overlooked and I thought [the fund] was a great idea. We’re asking anyone who has enjoyed live music to donate at least $1. It will help out.”
No doubt this is just the beginning of relief efforts through the close-knit music scene to help victims of Harvey. And in times like this, we could all use great live music as welcome solace and respite, even only for a few hours. If music can help others rebuild their lives in the process, everyone wins.
Know of any other relief efforts on the Houston music scene? Let us know.