Updated: Jul 28, 2021
While music may seem magical, it does not happen magically.
Choosing music as our medium means consciously acting with intention - channelling that great force to make lives better and embracing everything that comes with that choice. Choosing to engage with the world through music means choosing to be open to vulnerability and uncertainty; a responsibility that we took upon ourselves, to model this via fono and nurture it in others.
Back in March last year, as we first begin to grasp the extent of the changes that might be coming our way, admittedly we were not preparing ourselves adequately to adapt to COVID-19. A year has passed and knowing that we need to power through these hard times, we set some goals and shifted our priorities to:
1. Safeguard the health of fono crew and our community,
2. Persevere and remain relevant,
3. Sustain our broader creative and community-based work.
Maybe deceptively simple but so much of our heart and soul is represented by those few lines. There is also a fourth goal: Stay fiscally strong. As a fono supporter, you have a stake in how we carry our mission. So we’d like to be pretty direct with you on this part: fono is losing money and have depleted our resources. This is significant and it has been a challenge, especially when our modus operandi depended on physical gatherings and direct contribution via tickets, bar sales, and tips.
While art spaces and live houses are forced to shut down, we are lucky enough to have an understanding and supportive landlord. We made some tough decisions on the expense side but not quite enough to close the gap of further losses, and as far as we can predict (which perhaps still isn’t as far as any of us would like), we have come up with a plan to carry us through the immediate future. And of course, this plan - perhaps more than ever - depends on your support. The simple truth is that community-powered is not only the key to fono’s character, but also its fundamental strength. Your donations, together with a combination of personal loans and grants, will be critical in allowing us to pivot, check in with our community, and find new ways to serve artists and music lovers. In the spirit of transparency, the donations will be used to help cover long overdue rent and utility bills, minor equipment maintenance, and to cover the loss from our cancelled events.
We talk often about the unique freedom DJs, bands, and promoters have to play what they want, to express ideas through curation. But - as you can hear when you listen - there is also an underlying responsibility that goes along with this. When DJs process the news through a playlist, when artists speak openly during our sharing sessions, when the community tackles weighty topics over cigarettes and drinks in our narrow open-air corridor… this is really a way of opening doors for people to think about things that can be hard to think about, and for fono to use our voice in a way we might not otherwise feel permitted to do.
And the main thing we want you to have a sense of is this: as a supporter of fono, you’ll be the source of some good in the world right now. You will be helping to create a resilient community that honours the powerful and profound role of music in peoples’ lives, at a time when we are hearing that it really matters. fono has always played a key role in the music ecosystem as one of the few platforms that champions non-mainstream artists, and now is not the time to let up.
Now is a time when people are seeking solace and a sense of connection, and they are turning, in part, to music. More people are responding to our Spotify playlists and recommendations than ever before. More people are reaching out to us than ever before, too, sending messages about what music means in their lives. These are incredibly hard times, we are humbled to hear from some in our community that fono has been a bright spot, and so very glad to provide any measure of comfort we can.
At fono, we’d like to continue to pursue our organisational mission while adapting to a shifting landscape that has left many members of our community disillusioned yet impassioned. We believe more strongly than ever in the power of music to make things better. Music provides inspiration, a source of strength, and vital nourishment. It can help us aspire to become better versions of ourselves, even prompt us to help another person. Collectively we power this amazing community and if you choose to become one of our donors, you will amplify our ability to keep music in people’s minds, hearts, and spirits. Thank you for supporting us and exemplify the belief that art can change lives.
TLDR; we're trying to survive the pandemic and we need your help to pivot so we can keep enriching the community with our programming - donation below.