In early 2020, on the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it grew to become obvious that journey and gathering restrictions would considerably affect numerous industries. Because the pandemic unfold globally, industries like airways rapidly acquired authorities aid. Nonetheless, the music and performing arts trade noticed much less public consideration and authorities help.
Years earlier than the pandemic, coalitions within the District’s music and humanities group shaped round a number of points, together with responding to a report in regards to the metropolis’s musician inhabitants, opposing the Amplified Noise Modification by D.C. Metropolis Council Chair Phil Mendelson, and supporting the ‘Don’t Mute DC‘ motion led by Ronald Moten, which advocated for Go-Go music and in opposition to gentrification.
Throughout the pandemic, the D.C. music group united to handle their distinctive challenges. This led to the formation of the DMV Music Stakeholders (DMVMS), a gaggle that features musicians, venue house owners, occasion planners and promoters.
Chris Naoum, an legal professional who relocated to D.C. to work in music and media coverage, was a key organizer of occasions like “The Funk Parade” and “Down within the Reeds Competition.” Naoum additionally cofounded DMVMS and now serves as an occasion coordinator for the DC Fee for the Arts and Humanities.
“It was so pure for everybody to only come collectively while you noticed the music trade in such a dire place,” Naoum stated.
Jazz musician Aaron Meyers, one other DMVMS co-founder, needed to cancel worldwide performances, resulting in a sudden lack of revenue.
“Educating was up within the air. So what does one do? I needed to instantly pivot to see how a lot I had saved. What would unemployment appear like? Would I get unemployment,” Meyers, at the moment the manager director of the DC Fee for the Arts and Humanities, recalled questioning.
Naoum stated Myers and musician and humanities advocate Herb [Scott] “realized the jazz group was in large bother.”
“We wanted to be broader, not solely supporting the jazz group however utilizing our stakeholder record for advocacy,” Naoum defined.
Meyers, Naoum, Scott and others, together with the late Rev. Dr. Sandra Butler Truesdale, established biweekly requires musicians to share sources and draft authorities help laws. They proposed The Music Venue Aid Act, which, though not adopted in its unique kind, influenced the Mayor’s “Leisure Bridge Fund.”
“They haven’t flat out stated they’ve taken components of the work that we’ve accomplished however I feel normally our laws helped them perceive the necessity for creating this Bridge Fund,” Naoum acknowledged.
The group additionally performed a job in advocating for ‘The Harmonious Residing Act of 2021.
Dior Brown, a hip-hop artist and a present DMV Music Stakeholders chief, discovered solace within the group through the pandemic. “It was my first Millennium Stage efficiency, and I used to be coming off this excessive pondering ‘In 2020 it’s about to be loopy!’ After which the entire world shut down,” Brown stated.
Regardless of the return to normalcy, points highlighted through the pandemic persist. The native music advocacy group continues bimonthly conferences and useful resource sharing. In November, they hosted their first “meet and greet” at Eaton Home.
“I’m so grateful for you all for popping out tonight. I by no means thought we might meet in individual,” stated Meyers.
Brown outlined targets like enhancing promotion for impartial artists, making certain an artist’s residing wage, and offering schooling on enterprise and contracts.
“I feel having a strong group that tackles numerous advocacy sorts,” Brown stated, relating to targets for the group. “The place everybody’s listening to at least one one other, and that it’s not solely cash grabs.”
“[I hope] that artists and organizations are actually thriving, that we’re listening to and addressing the ills,” Brown continued, “[and] that extra people will wish to come right here, figuring out the scene is lively and we’ve got a voice.”