Musicians in Austin must have felt the love on Tuesday. Businesses across the city donated 5 percent of their proceeds to support musicians' health, and people throughout the community reached deep into their pockets to donate as well. It was all part of HAAM Benefit Day.
HAAM Benefit Day is an annual event that invites the entire city to shop, eat out and listen to live music at dozens of participating area restaurants, bars, retail stores and even banks. Proceeds from the event go to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, a local nonprofit providing access to affordable health care for Austin's low-income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.
At Whole Foods Market Flagship on Lamar musicians like Shelley King and Bob Livingston entertained the lunch crowd as volunteers like Priscilla Promises walked around taking donations. "We are such a community-oriented town and I love to see people giving back to Austin's musicians," Promises said.
This annual fundraiser also raises awareness about the significance of Austin's musicians. According to HAAM, there are approximately 9,000 musicians in Austin. The music industry contributes nearly $2 billion in economic activity and creates more than 18,000 jobs.
"If we are going to tout ourselves as the 'Live Music Capital of the World,' then we as a community are going to have to invest in our musicians," said Christopher Alerts, HAAM's new director of development. "The success of HAAM Benefit Day proves that our community is willing to commit to the health and wellness of our musicians."
If you are an uninsured, professional musician in the Austin-area, you may be eligible for low-cost primary health care, basic dental care, mental health, hearing and vision health services through HAAM. Information can be found here.