10 Ways To Help Colorado’s Music Scene Amid Concert Cancellations, Venue Closures And Stay-At-Home Orders

Lizzo plays the Fillmore on Colfax Avenue. Oct. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver’s service, music and arts industries have been devastated by the closures, cancellations, and stay at home orders put in place to control the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state. To help those in the service industry, officials have suggested we order takeout from a favorite local restaurant or buy a gift card for future use from a hairstylist, tattoo artist, or friendly nail tech. But what about the music scene? How do you help the musicians, the venues, or the music publications?

Here are 10 ideas (and, if I missed any, email me!):

  1. Stream Music
    Okay, when you aren’t tuning in to Indie 102.3, you can simply stream local music on any platform. Seriously. Most of your favorites (or soon-to-be favorites) have music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, and... the list goes on. We know streaming doesn’t provide a steady paycheck (or a ton of money to the artists), but since you’re at home rearranging your cupboards, this is just one of the quickest and easiest ways to support the Colorado music scene.
  2. Share Your Favorite Local Bands
    This comes straight from a local musician. Shon Cobbs of Denver’s Plume Varia says one of the easiest ways to help local musicians is to simply share their music with your pals. Since we’re all making social distancing playlists (ahem, including us), share those playlists with your friends, and stack it with music from your favorite local bands. (Not sure who to include? Start with the Local 303). Oh, and you can also share when your favorite band is going live to your Instagram/Facebook stories. Simple!
  3. Buy Local
    Alright, a good rule to live by in the best of times, but now it’s more important than ever. Music is no different. If you find yourself with a paycheck still coming in, you can help by buying from musicians, stores, and venues. Multiple bands have fresh, new releases up on Bandcamp, or on their own websites. Buy from one of your favorite record stores online (including Twist & Shout, Wax Trax, or The Leechpit). How about some new band merch? Or venue merch?
  4. Support Your Indie Venues
    With bars and restaurants closing, that means that independent venues are closed as well. The only difference is they don’t have anything (like food) to deliver. Many independent venues around town are working to stay afloat until live music is back on the table and it’s imperative that they do. Venues not only support local musicians, but they generally employ them, too. If you have the funds, you can support your favorite venues like The Hi-Dive and Oriental Theater by purchasing merch or ticket deals to use later. A lot of the bartenders at these venues have also set up e-tip jars. You know you’ve got a favorite, so help ‘em out, too.
  5. Watch a Live Stream As you may have noticed, live streaming on all social media platforms has shot up in the last week, and from some really amazing artists, too - especially here in Colorado. This is our answer (and saviour) for the lack of live music. If you’re scrolling on Instagram or Facebook and see a local musician performing live, tune in! Not only does it give you a live show from the comfort of your own home, it really provides a boost to those musicians. It’s a sense of community and togetherness while we keep our (physical) distance. Participate. Ask how they’re doing. Request a song. Donate afterwards if you can.
  6. Find Live Streaming
    Oh, and if you aren’t sure where to find live streams, there are plenty of local organizations helping set up a few through the coming weeks (us included! Follow us on Instagram, @indie1023.) 303 Music has already jumped in, NoCo Live From Home Show is showcasing Northern Colorado musicians, and Whiskey, Women & Song is planning on hosting female fronted musicians for live streams in the coming weeks, just to name a few. This is also a great way to discover local music publications, online resources, and more.
  7. Donate Directly
    Yeah, you can do that! Ask your musician, artist, and venue pals what their Venmo, PayPal, or Cash App account is. If you have the income, send them something. As a radio station that runs on 95% local and listener support, we can confidently say every little bit helps. Can you spare $5 for a local musician streaming a set? Then do it. Can you send a digital tip to your favorite venue bartenders? Yes, you can. And let’s not forget the online fundraiser. This is super helpful for venues and artists alike - in fact, a quick search of Denver’s GoFundMe brought up results to help Denver Area Artists and even support employees of the punk venue, Streets Denver. You can make your own fundraisers, or search for Colorado musicians, venues, publications, and more. Just double-check to make sure they’re legit.
  8. Subscribe to Local Publications Local publications that cover the music scene are also finding themselves in uncertain times. Some are facing cutbacks. Some just rely on donations. Either way, subscribing, donating to, or simply sharing stories from a local music or arts publication will ensure they stay afloat as well - including Westword, Marquee Magazine, 303 Magazine, Ultra 5280, and plenty more. These publications bring you local arts and music news on a regular basis. Local and independent coverage directly supports local musicians, venues, and the local music scene. Some are asking for help monetarily, but following is free.
  9. Share (Legit) Information
    You probably already know to check your sources, go deeper than headlines, and not to be a troll. But share information that you find useful, including the latest news and updates, but also community resources. Denver’s got a list of support links floating around with information from family resources, to, artist resources. We’ve just compiled a Musician’s Resource Guide. There are ways to support by simply sharing.
  10. For Now, Stay Home
    Yeah, this should go without saying. And it’ll be easier now that Denver’s essentially a shelter in place city, but seriously, stay home, stay healthy, and wash your hands. Not only will this flatten the curve, but it ensures the greater community’s health. The quicker we can stem the tide, the quicker the venues and musicians can be back up and running. This starts - and ends - with us staying safe.

For up-to-the minute news on how the virus is impacting Denver and Colorado at large, keep this handy guide close by from our sister station, CPR News.