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Austin nonprofit's big event goes virtual to keep local music alive amid COVID-19

Austin nonprofit's big fundraiser goes virtual to keep the music alive

Jane Ellen Bryant performs at HAAM Benefit Day ATX sign
HAAM Day will go virtual on September 15. Photo by Ben Porter Photography

Every fall, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians brings together local music lovers and performers for a day full of fundraising and concerts across town. But, like many things in 2020, the organization is putting a virtual spin on its annual event to support the musicians when they need it the most.

On September 15, a virtual version of HAAM Day will celebrate the nonprofit's 15th anniversary and provide you with opportunities to tune in to live music and donate to Austin's music community during this unprecedented time. 

"It's been just over four months since the live music scene in Austin was dealt an unexpected and astronomical blow — a hard, fast halt on live music. This meant that thousands of Central Texas musicians, who rely so heavily on their weekly and monthly gigs, were now without any source of income," notes a release.

"As the effects of COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc on the Austin music community, HAAM knows that now more than ever, access to affordable, quality healthcare is vital to our musicians maintaining their livelihood and their ability to remain in Austin, creating the music we all love. It's for those reasons that they have decided to create the very first virtual HAAM Day!"

Traditionally, on HAAM Day, fans can stumble upon live music performances at restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and even corporate campuses across Austin. This year, HAAM Day will feature 15 hours of live music streaming across platforms like Facebook Live and YouTube.

The nonprofit is currently seeking entertainers to join the lineup, and, given the virtual pivot, HAAM will be able to include "a wide range of talent more reflective of the diverse array of musicians [the] programs serve," says the release.

HAAM hopes to raise more than $600,000 on September 15 — funds that will go directly to its mission of providing affordable healthcare to Austin's low-income musicians. But, HAAM reminds that this day is about more than just money — it's "dedicated to supporting, enjoying and discovering the local musicians who help create the Austin that we all love."

Performers can register for HAAM Day online, and the organization is also seeking sponsors for the 2020 event. More details on HAAM Day's virtual programming will be released in the coming weeks, but mark your calendar now.