6 simple ways to support local musicians in Birmingham right now

preston lovingood bham loft show 6 simple ways to support local musicians in Birmingham right now
Missing the Bham Loft Show, a monthly showcase of local musicians and artists, very much right about now. Preston Lovinggood + and the band performing at a Loft Show last year. Photo via @bhamloftshow on Instagram

With live shows postponed and our local music venues closed, local Birmingham musicians are being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some simple ways to support your favorite local acts right now.

Local acts need our support now.

To get some insight, I reached out to a friend and local musician, Connor McCullum of the local act, Oxford Con. He’s been playing in and around Birmingham with different bands and solo outlets since 2010. In 2019, he launched Oxford Con, a passion project, with several classically trained local musicians—in his words, to offset his lack of formal training.

He had plans to launch a full line of merch and release a new song he had crafted for two years. The band also had shows lined up—then COVID-19 hit and everything has been put on hold or canceled.

“I stayed up tossing and turning over the certain truth that musicians exist in my community that very literally need streams, merch sales, and donations to stay alive from a financial aspect. This conviction overwhelmed me and eventually led to my decision to forgo the release of any new songs or merch during this time of uncertainty.”

Connor McCullum, Oxford Con

His situation isn’t unique, and many other musicians in Birmingham are facing similar and even more uncertain circumstances. Here are some simple ways to show your support during these times.

1. Donate directly to your favorite band or artist.

If one of your favorite musicians has shared a way to donate—whether via Venmo, GofundMe, Paypal, or others—consider sending a donation their way. 

And if you feel led to donate, but they haven’t shared any of those options or publicly requested help, consider reaching out privately to ask the best way to support them. There might be other ways they’d prefer to receive support at this time. 

2. Purchase their merch, singles, albums or tickets to future shows.

Check with your favorite local artists to find out if they have merch or physical records and albums for sale online. You’ll not only be supporting their art, but you’ll also get to enjoy it. 

You can also check their sites or social media to see if they’ve rescheduled shows for later in the year. Already have tickets to a postponed show? Hold onto it or give it to a friend instead of requesting a refund. This is a small but valuable way to not only support that artist, but also others involved in hosting the show.

3. Follow them on social media and look out for any virtual shows and live streams.

Musicians across the world are turning to social media to host creative virtual concerts. If you see a local artist hosting a live stream or online show, make sure to show up. Not only is it a great way to let them know you’re still listening, but it’s also just really fun. 

And make sure you’re following local creative accounts in Birmingham who are doing lots of good right now, like Blüprint Birmingham, a local outlet all about highlighting creative talent in the Magic City.

They are hosting a beat-making competition right now with local music producers to raise money for local service industry workers impacted by COVID-19. So cool.

4. Send kind words their way to let them know you’re still rooting for them.

This might seem minuscule compared to some of the terrifying realities people are facing right now, but a kind word truly goes a long way.

“Apart from streaming their music or buying their merch, I think perhaps the sincerest way to support your favorite artists is to simply text/DM them personally and let them know that someone is still rooting for them. If they don’t respond, I promise you that they will see it in time, and it will mean far more than one might fathom during this season.”

Connor McCullum, Oxford Con

5. Keep supporting our local music venues.

You might not be able to see a show, but you can still support them during these uncertain times. Support Iron City by purchasing an e-gift card valid towards concert tickets, merch and The Iron City Grill, or by contributing to their GoFundMe. You can also support The Nick by purchasing merch and picking it up curbside.

Follow more venues on Instagram to stay up to date on upcoming shows + more ways to support them.

6. Stream their music!

This is the easiest way you can support local artists right now wherever you are! Stream their music, like their songs, add them to playlists and share it with your friends. If you’re looking for local musicians to support, we recently published a piece highlighting Birmingham hip hop artists including a playlist of some of our favorites. Find it here.

You can also check out our #ListenLocal playlist below featuring a few of our favorite Birmingham acts on Spotify. We had A LOT of help from Birmingham native and local music lover, Jordan Smith, who reached out to us via Instagram with the idea of creating a playlist. Listen below!

Know of more ways we can support local musicians, or want to shout out to a local organization who is doing a great job? Let us know on social @BhamNow on Facebook and Instagram or @Now_Bham on Twitter

Hannah Chambley
Hannah Chambley
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