Alberta launches weekly online concert series to help musicians through COVID-19 pandemic

Alberta Spotlight will feature musicians around the province playing for audiences online. Alexander Demianchuk/TASS via Getty Images

Albertans will have a new way to attend concerts of all genres this summer — without having to leave the house.

The provincial government has teamed up with Alberta Music, the National Music Centre, CKUA and Stagehand to launch Alberta Spotlight, a weekly online concert series to help musicians through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NMC said the initiative was made possible through $125,000 in funding by the Alberta government. The province did not provide any numbers about the program.

“The funding will go directly to Alberta artists who will be performing,” the government said in a news release on Tuesday.

“Many have lost income due to cancelled performances because of necessary public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Musicians will perform in their own homes and studios every Thursday, and audiences can tip them. Each concert will have up to five artists and run weekly throughout the summer, the province said. Concerts will be available here.

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Carly Klassen, executive director of Alberta Music, said the program is a wonderful way to acknowledge artists.

“The Alberta Spotlight series will be a positive step towards alleviating some of the financial stress faced by artists in the music sector,” she said.

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CKUA CEO Marc Carnes said the station is honoured to be part of Alberta Spotlight, which will provide opportunities for artists to perform and connect with audiences when everyone needs it most.

“Artists are part of the heart and soul of our province, and this showcase of diverse Albertan music will help demonstrate just how vital they are to our community,” he said.

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Alberta musicians Nuela Charles, Reuben and the Dark, and Ariane Mahrÿke Lemire will launch the series on June 11 at 4:30 p.m., according to the province.

The NMC said musicians will receive a grant of $1,000 towards an online concert and perform a three- to five-song set.

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Musicians can apply to perform here.

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