AUSTIN, Texas - Austin City Council has voted to provide Austin-area musicians with economic relief during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
According to a press release from the city, on Thursday, April 23, the city council approved an ordinance providing $1.5 million to create an "Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund." The fund will provide emergency relief to musicians struggling due to the cancelation of festivals and ordered closures of music venues during the coronavirus outbreak.
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“I’m proud to represent Downtown Austin and its many vibrant music venues, and I was honored to bring forward this recommendation from the Music Commission to provide financial assistance to musicians,” said Council Member Kathie Tovo. “I appreciate the thoughtful discussion and collaboration that contributed to the passage of this initiative, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Music Commission and others in the music community to identify additional ways to support our local musicians.”
The City of Austin Music Commission recognized the need for immediate financial assistance in March and has since asked the council to create a disaster fund.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Austin music community is facing unprecedented financial challenges. The City of Austin Music Commission is grateful for Council Member Tovo's initiative supporting the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund. This will bring critical assistance to the musicians that contribute so much to Austin's economy and culture,” said Music Commission Chair Rick Carney.
This ordinance is a response to a council resolution sponsored by Tovo and co-sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza and Council Members Alison Alter, Ann Kitchen, and Leslie Pool.
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The fund is set to provide financial assistance to musicians through the "Live Music Assistance Fund" or any other available resources and to explore the possibility of creating a digital live music portal.
“We know that the COVID-19 crisis has affected all people across all levels of our community but has particularly impacted musicians who already live in a very fragile ecosystem and rely on being able to play music to audiences in the public. This kind of support and funding that our City Council is proposing is desperately needed by our musicians,” said Reenie Collins, CEO of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
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