HAAM Day is on track for 2020 — but, like most everything, it will be a bit different this year.
The annual fundraiser for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians usually features live music in a wide variety of locations around town, from grocery stores and bank lobbies to more traditional venues such as clubs and restaurants. With the coronavirus pandemic still a major concern, HAAM announced Tuesday that the first-ever virtual HAAM Day will take place on Sept. 15.
The organization has set a $600,000 fundraising goal for the 15th annual event, combining sponsorship revenue with individual donations from the community. In the past, those donations were gathered on site at music performances by HAAM volunteers. This year, they’ll be taken online during local musicians’ livestream performances.
HAAM Day typically includes performances by hundreds of Austin acts. The field might be even larger, and more inclusive, this year. "Without the usual constraints of booking requests, venue availability and programming preferences, we will be able to include a wide range of talent more reflective of the diverse array of musicians our programs serve," HAAM organizers noted in a statement that included a link for musicians to sign up as an official HAAM Day participant.
Those taking part will stream from their own social media accounts, with a "Donate to HAAM" button included in their stream. In addition, according to the statement, "Musicians playing HAAM Day will be featured on our website and HAAM will co-host each stream which will allow them to be listed on the HAAM Facebook page."
Sponsorships also will be available, as organizers say they plan on "getting creative and individualizing opportunities" in the wake of not being able to offer more typical on-site sponsor packages. Details of available packages are listed at a sponsorship deck on the HAAM website, with categories including presenter, producer, underwriter and "music lover." Major local music businesses C3 Presents and South by Southwest already are aboard as underwriters.
Last month, HAAM executive director Reenie Collins told members of the city’s Music Commission that the pandemic had affected this year’s fundraising significantly, resulting in a possible $1 million budget shortfall in 2020.
"As soon as September and October, HAAM will be faced with some challenging choices of either cutting services and/or reducing the number of members we are able to serve by a large margin, perhaps as many as 1,000 musicians less, depending on how insurance premiums rise due to COVID-19," Collins said at a June 3 online meeting of the commission.
READ MORE: HAAM director says services may be at risk in pandemic