Wind, grey skies and occasional snow, winter is the time of year Canberrans really lives…
I was sleepily scrolling Insta recently following a lockdown nap when I saw the shoutout from local musician Hope Wilkins.
The picture was a handwritten note, along with a caption about having a backlog of merch that the young Canberran artist had been planning to sell during her now-cancelled tour.
I swiped across and instantly saw myself in one of Hope’s merch hoodies, so for a bargain price of $65 I did some snoozy shopping and kinda forgot about it.
A week or so later, I was happily surprised to find an unexpected package at my door, containing not only a super soft and snuggly jumper but also a bonus coffee mug, stickers and a super-sweet handwritten card.
As a long time music writer, I instantly felt bad for not continuing to do more to support local musicians. And after chatting with Hope, the fact that this has been beyond a tough time for artists really hit home.
“COVID has had a detrimental impact on the arts industry. When the bush fires occurred, musicians and artists were the first to voluntarily stick their hands up and help raise money for our community and those in need.”
“When COVID hit, the arts industry was one of the first to suffer and last to be supported. For me personally, I’ve faced practical and mental health barriers. I’ve lost a lot of income and had to continually reschedule and cancel shows. It’s been deflating,” says Hope.
We know live gigs are off the table for the time being, but if you’re feeling like you could do with some new threads, the good news is that buying merch pays off.
“Merch is one of the biggest profit margins for artists, making it particularly important right now,” explains Hope. “Many artists have lost work and income due to the impacts of COVID.”
“Without live shows, turning any sort of profit on merch has been particularly difficult as merch is generally sold at shows. Purchasing merch from an artist provides much-needed community support and gives us the motivation to keep doing what we love.”
For those who are feeling a little skint or financially insecure, there are other ways to show support and that you care about our local talent including sharing their posts, saving their tunes to a playlist and holding on to any tickets for postponed gigs.
If you don’t already have a few favourite Canberran musos, this playlist is the perfect place to start.
There is so much talent here, let’s celebrate and support it.
Feature image: Hope Wilkins by Eric Powell via Facebook