Building Community29 Jun 2020

WAM and Minderoo Foundation bring music to vulnerable communities across WA

“Can you feel the energy in the room? It’s incredible. I haven’t seen everyone this happy and connected in months.” – Chris Byrne, MercyCare.

West Australian Music (WAM) and Minderoo Foundation have teamed up to deliver 60 ‘micro-gigs’ to people in need across Western Australia. The micro-gigs are private performances, where local musicians play short sets to audiences in line with current COVID-19 guidelines.

The performances are taking place at venues including women’s refuges, Indigenous health centres, hospitals, shelters, and community centres across WA, to boost the spirits of those doing it tough during the health crisis. The gigs also provide vital paid work for local musicians whose income streams have been severely affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

Minderoo Foundation co-founder Nicola Forrest AO said she hoped the micro-gigs series would kick-start live performances as restrictions continue to ease across WA.

“The arts sector has been one of the worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis,” Mrs Forrest said.

“Live performances have been hugely impacted and we know artists are itching to get back to work.

“We are so happy to be working with WAM to roll out the micro-gigs series. WA is home to so many incredible local musicians. It is wonderful that they’re using their talents to bring joy to vulnerable members of our community.”

WAM has worked with venues and local authorities to ensure each performance adheres to current government guidelines on gatherings and social distancing.

WAM CEO Mike Harris said the pilot week of the program had been hugely successful, and he was looking forward to the next round of shows.

“WAM is thrilled to be partnering with Minderoo Foundation, to deliver the micro-gigs across WA,” Mr Harris said.

“Not only does the series deliver the excitement and energy of live music to people that perhaps don’t often get to experience it, the gigs also provide the WA music community with paid performance opportunities, a welcome relief after COVID-19 decimated the sector.”

The micro-gigs will feature a diverse range of artists including Grace Barbé, Carla Geneve, Fraeya, Bodes, Perth Symphony Orchestra, Freeze Frame Opera, Rachel Vibart, Joan and The Giants, Jacob Diamond and Fieldsy, with more to be announced. 

Claire Millet, an advisor at St Bartholomew’s House, said she was blown away by the micro-gig they hosted during the pilot week of the series.

“The micro-gig was a breath of fresh air for St Bart’s,” Ms Millet said.

“Even prior to the current social restrictions, the people residing within our services did not have many opportunities to attend live music events and it was obvious how much it lifted their spirits.

“Some of our residents don’t often socialise with one another, but they made an exception for this event. As one resident said, ‘it brightened my day … no, scrap that: it brightened my whole week!’”