The month of March has felt as long as a full year between the coronavirus pandemic raging, the mass exodus from college campuses across the US, and the constant inundation of news updates and health guidelines. In times like these, arts events like festivals and concerts are what keep us going—but due to the unprecedented nature of the virus, even these are being cancelled, leaving fans disappointed and musicians out of work.
Despite all this, the human spirit is resilient. First we lifted each other up with the Artists Support Artists trend; now we’re keeping concerts alive through the power of the livestream. Last Saturday, Berklee alumni Hunter LaMar and Zaid Tabani hosted the Couchella Music Festival on Instagram. The account, which generated 295 followers in three days, posted the lineup and schedule the night before the festival; viewers could follow either @couchellamusic or one of the 13 performers to join each livestream at its set time. Each artist prepared “an intimate, yet hype set from their living room,” and viewers were encouraged to show their support by donating or following them on social media.
As artists, we are nothing if not creative, resourceful, and stubbornly persistent, and events like Couchella are the evidence. This is just the beginning of a new digital era as more and more live performances go digital in an attempt to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. Right now we need music more than ever—thanks to the scope of technology, we can continue to curate our craft and bring hope to the world in this uncertain time, all while doing our part by staying home.