The Onstage Music Community Forum: Colorado Resources via Cass Clayton

By on March 31, 2020

Welcome to the Onstage Music Community Forum

Before it’s over, there won’t be a person in this country or most of the world, whose life will not have been affected in some way by COVID-19. At Onstage, we are acutely aware of the impact the pandemic is having on the artistic and music communities.

So what can we do? Well, we can listen and share. Share your fears, your hopes, your ideas, your soul. This is our forum, or more accurately, your forum to voice all of it. From the artists to the roadies to the lighting and catering crews, to the promoters and managers, venue owners, poster designers and music stores…tell us what’s happening.

You never know where the next great idea may come from, so let’s have a conversation about it all. If you know of organizations that might assist, let us know. If you’re terrified you won’t make it through the day, week, or month…reach out. We are a big community, we can do this.

Send your story, thoughts, ideas to kathg@onstagemagazine.com and include your social sites if you have any, current project links, photos, etc. We can promote as well as listen.

Our post today is from Colorado based blues-rocker Cass Clayton. Cass has spent plenty of time perfecting her slide guitar and plenty of time helping her fellow musicians even before this current crisis. She is involved in several outreach organizations in Colorado dealing with everything from helping the music community fill out basic forms to mental health forums. Cass was kind enough to offer a lot of information and links to regional organizations that offer help to those in need. Check out her post and take a listen to her music. After all, the music is what will get us through to the other side.

Not surprisingly, thousands of musicians are facing financial strain or devastation. Virtually everyone in the music industry has been affected, and that includes venues, bars and restaurants and their employees. Musicians take a hard hit, because they’re self-employed and there’s no safety net. We’re already hearing of people who are trying to figure out how to feed their families and cover basic expenses. 


The uplifting side of this story is that countless musicians are playing from their living rooms to lift the mood. Music has always healed people, and it’s still healing people. We’re listening to each others’ shows and doing our best to fill the online tip jar. It’s a fraction of the lost revenue, but it’s also about community and support. Many people are doing what they can to help. Sandra Holman-Watts, owner of Live at Jackshad to close the venue, so she hired musicians to do curbside delivery and also created a musicians’ fund where 100% of donations go to the musicians who were scheduled to perform there. Caffe’ Sole in Denver is preparing 100 free meals a day to feed the community. There are a lot of good people out there doing what they can to help. 


The number one need is for emergency funding with a simple application process and quick disbursement. There are so many sources that have already paused their application process, because there isn’t enough funding to cover the vast number of requests. Artists are also expressing concern that they’ll fall through the cracks with any government distributions since they’re self-employed. One thing that came up in a meeting last week is that there’s an undercurrent of shame among musicians. It’s hard to ask for financial help. I was so sad to hear that, and I hope we can get past that sort of thinking and just get people through this. 


There’s also a need for healthcare coverage, which isn’t affordable enough for much of the musician community. That adds and extra layer of anxiety and fear of getting sick. 


The third concern is around mental health in a highly-stressed community. In Colorado, Music Minds Matter has weekly virtual meetings and other resources for musicians needing support. Normally their meetings are once a month, but they’re now taking place on a weekly basis because of the need. 


There’s so much information out there, and it can be overwhelming to figure out where to go for support. This all happened quickly, so we’re trying to organize and discern what resources are available for people who work in the music industry. Rocky Mountain Music Relief is working to create a clearinghouse with links to the ever-evolving resources and applications for financial support. RMMR is also working to find the best local organization(s) to disburse funds to individual artists as money is raised for relief efforts (donations can be made on that website, and 100% goes to artists). Conversations are beginning with a few non-profit organizations, including FoCoMa (Ft. Collins Musicians Association) to pool our skills and resources. All of this won’t happen overnight, but we’re all trying to move things quickly. All of this has brought to light the need for a systematic way to protect gig-dependent artists when there’s a large-scale emergency.


Other resources: SHE.E.O. (She Entertainment Organization) was co-founded by a group of music industry women in Colorado. We’ll be having virtual meetings to support women in in the music community. Helpful resources are also listed on the link shared.

Cass Clayton

Cass Clayton website

Cass Clayton facebook

Cass Clayton YouTube

Post by Kath Galasso @KatsTheory

Part 1 of the Onstage Music Community Forum: Tokyo Rosenthal

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