A province-wide campaign to showcase live music in the virtual world will kick off with a much different version of Surrey’s FVDED in the Park festival.
B.C.’s SoundON initiative aims to “celebrate the power of live music” and assist those in an industry hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Billed as the first project of its kind in Canada, SoundON “brings together industry members from across the province with one common goal – to bring the province’s vibrant music industry back to life,” according to an announcement June 29.
First up is a Blueprint company-presented “FVDED Broadcast” on Saturday (July 18) from Celebrities nightclub in Vancouver, featuring music by BBNO$, Felix Cartal & Lights, Snotty Nose Rez Kids and others, with both in-person and online viewing from 6 to 10 p.m.
“All funds raised will go to supporting Hogan’s Alley, the BC Civil Liberties Association, Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA), the Greater Vancouver & Surrey Food Banks, and future SoundON shows,” notes a post at soundon.ca/fvded.
There will be a limited number of RSVP tickets available, and donations will be collected at the door. Groups of no more than six people will be admitted.
“Between the shows, you’ll be able to watch interviews and stories, with and by charity and community leaders, to raise awareness on the impact and issues around racism, civil liberties and mental health on our industry.”
Blueprint and Live Nation say they will donate $15,000 to the charity drive, with a goal of an additional $25,000 in audience donations.
— Snotty Nose Rez Kids (@TheRezKids) July 10, 2020
The music industry in B.C. was among the first sectors to shut down due to COVID, and will be among the last to reopen.
The scenario is predicted to create “devastating consequences for the industry,” according to SoundOn planners. “Without immediate action, more than 90 per cent of Canadian independent music venues are anticipated to permanently close within the next six months.”
In early July, this year’s FVDED in the Park festival was to feature Flume, G-Eazy and Illenium as headliners at Holland Park, but the event was cancelled for 2020 and shifted to dates in 2021.
The website SoundON.ca will fund and stream “uniquely curated content through the lens of festivals and presenters,” with the help of public funding, corporate sponsors and individual donors.
The goal is to put economic flow back into the industry.
“This will allow people to return to work as soon as possible,” organizers of the initiative say, “while sparking hope for those affected by the pandemic. The website also provides music lovers worldwide a whole new way to discover music in B.C. Amazing shows from across our province will be featured, all on one free website.”
Bands and solo artists can apply to curate shows that will be streamed on SoundON.ca.
Upcoming events include a New Forms Digital showcase on July 26, a Lightning Dust performance from Vancouver Island on July 24 and a “Symphonic Pride” concert featuring Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on July 31.
An anticipated 100 shows will be produced. While shows will be free to watch on SoundON.ca, donations will be encouraged to help fund the project.
SoundOn is presented in part with initial funding from Creative BC, the Province of British Columbia, corporate sponsors and private funders.
“This is a tale of resiliency and one we’re excited to share with British Columbia,” said Eduardo Ottoni, Producer of SoundON. “Music and gathering are at the heart of every vibrant culture, and something that gives joy to so many people. The pandemic has not only had a devastating economic impact, but an emotional one. Our aim is to be a beacon of resilience during the pandemic and beyond.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the once effervescent music industry in B.C., says Lindsay MacPherson, executive director of Music BC.
“It is a pain that has been felt by so many, especially those working in arts and culture,” MacPherson said. “A group of leaders from across the industry have come together to collaborate on a way to bring back life to the sector. We have everyone from city officials, promoters, presenters, venues, production, and artists working on the project. Our aim is to be highly collaborative, in an unprecedented way, to bring our beloved industry back.”
Backers include Vancouver-based musician Dan Mangan, co-founder of Side Door.
“The open-minded and intersectional approach that SoundON is undertaking is innovative and inspiring — bridging public, private, and philanthropic stakeholders, building community and keeping the creative community afloat.
“At Side Door, we are beyond proud to have paid out nearly $250K to artists for their online shows since the pandemic started, and even more proud to witness the human connection our interactive online approach has provided to artists and audiences alike. We are thrilled to help SoundON fulfill their mission and keep art thriving during the pandemic.”