With festivals and events cancelled or postponed and public spaces shutting down, we’re suddenly faced with a very bare calendar. You’re not alone if you’re wanting to contain the spread of infection but worried about supporting the venues that fill our evenings and weekends with so much joy. All industries will feel the knock-on effect of this, and the creative and gig economies are no exception.
Whilst it’s not within our usual charter at Urban List to encourage staying at home, it may be the best way of containing COVID-19. That’s why this weekend, we're interrupting our usual programming ever so slightly because we’re digging staying in. Right now, we're all about living your best life in isolation.
Here’s a round-up of ways to help your local community over the coming weekend.
Many musicians and DJs earn most of their income from live performances and are facing an uncertain future. Though you can’t get to the gig, there are a load of ways you can show your support and keep the industry ticking over until we can get back to moshing with our mates.
Many artists use Bandcamp or other online platforms to sell their music, with musicians offering extra content or subscriptions at the moment to compensate for lost work. You can also help out by buying records, CDs or digital albums (you’ll need a good music collection if you’re WFH). Otherwise, head to their website to grab merch that you would have otherwise picked up at their gig.
If you’re a musician or know an artist who is struggling, you can call Support Act on their helpline 1800 959 500, or log your income losses here.
With Australians being encouraged to stock up on a few essential items, try and shop local if you can. Get your staples from your neighbourhood butcher, grocer and bakery and distribute your investment throughout the community. If you don’t need anything right now, consider buying vouchers or long-lasting products that you’ll be able to use in the future.
There are also a lot of small businesses with excess stock and losses over the cancellation of festivals and catering jobs, so keep an eye on your social feed for offers of discounted goods or pleas for assistance in distributing excess produce.
Invest In Independent Venues
Although there’s no current ban on public spaces, a lot of venues will be feeling the crunch as events are postponed and Sydney siders self-isolate to slow the virus. Show the love to your favourite bars and restaurants and help them get through the cash flow shortage if you can. See if they sell gift vouchers that you’ll be able to use later down the track, or head to their websites to pick up any merch or online products that might be on offer.
If you do head out to any cafes, bars or restaurants, keep up the hand washing and sanitising, respect personal space and avoid using cash if you can. Otherwise, keep supporting your favourite local hot spots by ordering online—Deliveroo is offering non-contact services so you can keep getting the restaurant experience while you work on up-skilling at home.
You can find out which Sydney restaurants are now offering takeaway meals here. But don't expect just regular takeaway—Sydney's hospitality scene is absolutely delivering on the creativity for our new at-home lives. It's inspiring, amazing and we applaud every one of them.
You can also sign this petition that's calling on the government to help Sydney venues navigate the crisis.
Protect Arts And Entertainment
As notifications come through about show cancellations, consider not asking for a refund. Many events companies are offering the option of keeping your tickets for the postponed date or following year. Festivals like Ability Fest are also giving you the option to donate your ticket. This may not be financially viable for everyone, but if you can it may make a world of difference to the survival of future events and their organisers.
Remember The Vulnerable
Beyond the entertainment industries, charities and not-for-profits will be fighting hard to get through the next couple of months. If you’re in a financial position to do so, keep supporting your regular charities. It might feel like a lifetime ago in the wake of this new crisis, but bushfire relief is still needed, especially for our native wildlife.
Otherwise consider donating to food banks, homeless shelters and refugee organisations, as supermarket shortages are already significantly affecting their stock supplies. Foodbank and ASRC are good places to start for food donations, whilst the Red Cross is in dire need of more blood donors.
Help Your Community
Once you’ve gathered a few essential pantry and personal items for yourself—stop. Buying more than your share is taking away from those who need it most. Check-in on, or offer support to your elderly neighbours, family and friends, whether it comes in the form of a phone call or some basic groceries.
Show kindness to those who are working overtime as cleaners, security, in food and beverage, retail and of course health care, many of whom are unable to stock up or self-isolate. Remember it’s not the fault of the teenager at the till that there’s no toilet paper.
Get A Subscription
Lots of freelancers, artists and businesses are offering subscriptions on platforms like Patreon. If you have any money to spare, consider joining up and connecting with your favourite writers and creatives for content to enjoy while you’re at home.
Independent booze retailers like DRNKS and P&V offer amazing wine subscriptions (we all need wine right now), and we're compiling a list of things-you-didn't-know-you-could-get-delivered-in-Sydney for you right here.
Throughout this potentially isolating time, check in with housemates, colleagues, friends and family. Fire up your computer and use the Netflix Party extension on chrome to watch your favourite shows together from afar.
Loads of musicians, comedians and actors are firing up their creative juices to stream live performances, so crack a tinnie and book in a session with mates to catch a set, and it’ll be like you’re basically there.
Look After Yourself
With 24-hour news, social media feeds and a rapidly developing environment, it’s easy to spiral, especially if you’re WFH. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, turn off the TV, unplug and find a distraction. Read something other than the news, exercise or listen to music. Here's a list of Sydney gyms currently offering at-home sweat sessions (and yep, we'll be updating this one for you too).
There’s a lot of information to sift through at the moment, and plenty of misinformation making the rounds. Make sure you check your sources and try to get first-hand information from press conferences by state and federal leaders or health officials.
For fact-checked, reliable information, The New York Times' free coronavirus briefing newsletter and ABC’s Coronacast are good places to start. Finding the most appropriate way to behave to keep yourself healthy is the easiest and most responsible thing we can do right now to contain infection.
When we come out the other side of this, we’ll want to get out there and enjoy the food festivals, live music, exhibitions and events, so let’s help the industry and each other thrive in whatever way we can.
Image credit: Prasit Photo