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Calgary

The Term “Starving Artist” Now Holds More Weight In Alberta, But There’s Hope.

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Large and small organisations are coming together to support musicians struggling through this financial crisis. Multiple industries have taken some hard hits in recent weeks and it is looking like there are still troubles on the horizon. If we look at the effects of what an isolation order and social distancing have on our daily lives, individuals and groups who earn their income through social events will be left with few choices.

 

One thing that the music industry holds true is their support for passionate people to be successful in their own way. These are the kind of people who take their form of art and consistently innovate to create their own success, to which deserves a lot of respect in the current economic climate. We have all heard of the “starving artist” stage of a musician’s career. Now with stripped grocery stores and cancelled social gatherings of 15 people in Alberta, that phrase now holds more weight.

 

Let’s be clear, certain successful artists who have gained a high level of success, public awareness and can be seen driving brand new Escalades around LA may still take a hit financially, however now is the time to support the industry as individuals or groups that don’t have those same means and are struggling to pay their bills. For those who have had shows, tours, private bookings and event stages cancelled for the foreseeable future, there are multiple resources out there to get through the next few months.

 

Unison Benevolent Fund                     

Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. Unison has helped over 1000 individuals and their families in every province and territory, as well as Canadians living abroad during times of crisis. They also received a 1900% increase in registrations since the coronavirus outbreak.

 

“We are here to help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties” 

 

They feel the pain for the music industry and want to act as a support role at this time. To that point they have resources for musicians and created a self care Sunday blog. They also have information on the music industry and how artists are innovating their approach. Check out their website to apply for financial assistance or for more information on the music industry.

Stan Brown Benevolent Fund

This is a fund made available for all Calgary Musician Association members that have fallen into hardship. The Stan Brown Benevolent Fund originated when the Association introduced an annual showcase called ‘Musicalgary’. It was an initiative from the early 90’s that helped to promote the musical talents and diversity of the membership. To make sure that any excess revenue was put to good use, the Health & Welfare Fund was born. Check out the Calgary Musicians Association to learn more about their work with the industry and their support for musicians in our city. 

“These are difficult times. The Stan Brown Benevolent Fund is available to CMA members in need”

 

CERB Canada’s Response for financial support to individuals

Any of us that have been keeping up to date with the news have been made aware of the emergency support benefit and the rushed EI applications over the last few weeks. The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will launch an online application in early April. As directed by prime minister Trudeau, the government recommends having an account setup on the Canada Revenue Agency with your direct deposit integrated so that once the application software becomes available you will receive the funds faster. If you want to learn more about this emergency benefit, check out this resource page

Spotify Music Relief Project

Some of our favourite music streaming platforms have also released information and resources for artists that are struggling with the current pandemic and staying connected with their listeners. Spotify released a COVID-19 Music Relief project working with non profit organisations and donated funds to support their initiatives. They are making a donation to these organizations and will match donations made via the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief page dollar-for-dollar up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million. 

 

Soundcloud

Soundcloud released numerous resources and podcasts for artists and musicians that are feeling the distress. They released an article on 7 ways to stay connected with your fans during COVID-19. With so many people at home, now is a good time to reset your intentions with your music and how you want to grow your audience. Hopefully before no time, we will be back in venues and concert halls enjoying the creativity and art that our local musicians have to offer.

Community

In a time like this community means more than ever. There are multiple Facebook groups like 

Canadian Musicians Association, Calgary Local Music, Music Calgary and the Canadian Federation of Musicians. If you’re in the same situation as a lot of musicians in our city, why not reach out to these groups and share your insight into how you are innovating in these times. 

From all of us at Todayville Calgary, we wish all of our local musicians and their families the best of health and wellbeing. We look forward to hearing and seeing you all live very soon.

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary

Alberta

Regimental funeral and procession for Calgary officer fatally injured in traffic stop

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CALGARY — A regimental funeral for a Calgary police officer killed in the line of duty is to be held this afternoon in the city and a procession following the service is to include a flypast by two CF-18s.

Officials say that due to COVID-19 restrictions only people who have been invited can attend the 1 p.m. service to honour Sgt. Andrew Harnett.

The Calgary Police Service has been granted an exemption from Alberta Health to allow 50 people to take part in the ceremony.

The service says it comes with a set of strict protocols and stringent oversight by health officials.

Harnett died on New Year’s Eve after he was struck by a vehicle during a traffic stop, and two people have been charged with first-degree murder in his death.

The 37-year-old leaves behind his wife, Chelsea, who is to give birth to their first child in the summer.

Police say the funeral will not be shared publicly at the request of the family, but the procession will be live-streamed.

Two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets from 410 Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., are to conduct the flypast of the memorial service at about 3 p.m.

Police say it will take place over the police headquarters building in northeast Calgary.

The flypast is to pay respect to Sgt. Harnett and honour his service and sacrifice in protecting Canadians and citizens of Calgary, both as a member of the Calgary police and a former member of the military police in the Canadian Armed Forces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Travel industry “in tailspin” as federal government adopts new COVID-19 test rules

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CALGARY — The travel industry in Canada has been thrown into a “tailspin” by new federal rules requiring a COVID-19 test before Canadians are allowed back into the country from most international travel, says the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors.

The timing of Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s announcement of the new protocol last Thursday — New Year’s Eve — could not have been worse because many agents had closed their offices for the holiday long weekend, the group said in a statement.

“The releasing of this new protocol in the afternoon of New Year’s Eve put most of our industry into a tailspin,” ACITA said.

“With no warning in place, people who had chosen to travel over the New Year were not given the opportunity to cancel or change their trips.”

ACITA is a new association started by independent travel agents last spring in part to lobby for government assistance for the industry due to challenges caused by the pandemic.

It says the testing move “seems to be having the opposite effect” from helping the industry recover.

The change in Ottawa’s policy left travel agents like Calgary’s Janez Law scrambling to get in touch with clients who are on trips or planning to take trips.

“People don’t like it very much but what can you do, you have no choice if you want to come home, right?” she said, adding it’s difficult to provide advice to her clients because of the lack of detail in Ottawa’s plan.

She said a Canadian client now in the Philippines said she will have to endure a six-hour-plus bus trip to the capital, Manila, to get the required test to ensure she is allowed back into Canada when she returns on Thursday.

Law said such tests are expensive in most of Asia, adding the test in Manila is expected to cost $150.

Her agency, Travel Far and Beyond, specializes in arranging trips to Asia but has experienced a 90 per cent decline in volume due to the pandemic.

Law added she personally supports the idea of more testing of travellers if it makes Canada safer.

The new rules will further discourage customers who are already wary of travelling to Africa during the pandemic because of its perceived quality of health care, said Pat Littlejohn, a co-owner of Toronto’s Wild Journeys Safaris in Africa.

“We sell trips to Africa. It actually might be very difficult to obtain one of these tests in Africa before returning to Canada. This just might be an impossibility,” she said.

“To put that requirement on just seems to just shut down travel, basically.”

Quick tests for COVID-19 at the airport would be a much better way to proceed, she said, adding many of her clients have put their plans “on hold” until the pandemic situation clears up.

The ACITA statement says most travel clients are willing to accept an additional cost related to travel during the pandemic but fear they could face “being gouged” to get the required testing.

“Our clients, those who have travel booked, are now looking to cancel their trips, not only due to the uncertainty that arises should they have difficulty getting a test within the allotted 72-hour time frame, but also due to the additional costs associated,” the group said in its statement.

It added that travel agents have been unable to tell passengers set to depart Canada this week whether testing locations they’ve identified will be included in Ottawa’s list of approved facilities since that list hadn’t been published.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2021.

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

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