Posted: Friday, May 1, 2020. 2:13 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Today, Belize will see its first-ever Virtual Music Festival and the Belize Music Agency (BMA) is convinced that the format will have lasting effects on the entertainment industry in and outside of Belize.
The festival, which will be live-streamed at 8 p.m. on social media, is a collaborative effort between the BMA, the Office of the Music Ambassador, and Digi. A total of 19 Belizean artists will perform from their home studios or livingrooms, and the audience will also have the option to make financial contributions to the artist of their choice via the website www.tips.bz.
James Sanker, Founder, and CEO of the (BMA), explained that the idea for hosting a virtual music festival was already in the works as a part of a regional project. Sanker explained that Belizean artists were to collaborate with others from the Caribbean for such a show and that much of the groundwork for the production had already been laid when the world went into lockdown because of COVID-19.
“This will change the whole game. All these things were available to us before but the world has changed and has made the things that were available but would have taken years to become mainstream to now become mainstream,” Sanker said. “We don’t have to let the artists come from Jamaica now, we could perform with them right from here. They could be on the same stage with us simultaneously singing the same song, dancing the same song, they don’t have to move.”
Sanker said that even charging tickets to participate in such an event is possible, noting that the initiative was the product of extreme necessity as shows were being canceled and artists, who may have been struggling to begin with, were not making any money at all.
Music Ambassador Shyne Barrow said that he offered his support to the initiative without hesitation as it complemented his efforts to try and get artists some relief from the economic hardship of COVID-19.
“I have been lobbying since early March to ensure that whatever discussions were being had in terms of unemployment assistance, that the artists were involved,” Barrow said.
Barrow pointed out that many of the affected artists were employed in the tourism industry, which was severely hit by COVID-19, making it even more important for them to receive assistance.
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