Austin Announces an Emergency Fund for Artists
By Andrew Almeter
Photography By Andrew Almeter
For almost two months, the nightlife in the live music capital of the world has been shuttered. Since COVID-19 caused the cancellation of South By Southwest in early March, Austin musicians and venues have struggled.
Connor McCampbell is the founder and frontman of the Austin performance group TC Superstar. He was looking forward to one of the most exciting weeks of South By the group had ever attended, but thinks that canceling the conference was the right call.
“Streaming, I’m sure you know, is not a huge revenue stream for most artists,” McCampbell said. “Live shows are really kind of our bread and butter.”
McCampbell says the band’s savings and an increase in merchandise sales have kept them out of financial trouble for now, but not all artists are so fortunate. Many privately-funded campaigns to help musicians have been overwhelmed with applications for aid. McCampbell applied for a few grants to help the band but says that with how many other artists need help, he’s not expecting anything.
Last Thursday, Austin City Council unanimously approved a $1.5 million emergency fund to benefit local musicians. They are currently deciding how to manage the fund and who will qualify for aid.
In the meantime, TC Superstar live-streamed its first benefit concert last Saturday and raised hundreds of dollars for the Red River nightclub Cheer Up Charlies and its staff. They have two more streams planned with guest artists, each benefitting a different venue around town.
Caleb Fleischer, founder of the band Indoor Creature, will join TC Superstar on their third Instagram Live concert. He says that all the bands want is to use their platform to relieve some of their favorite venues’ suffering.
You can watch TC Superstar’s second stream this Saturday night. All the information is available on the band’s Instagram page. All proceeds will benefit Hotel Vegas in east Austin.