AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin businesses are banding together to try to keep the local economy afloat during the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Wednesday, the Red River Cultural District announced a new initiative called We Can Do Magic.
“We gotta carry on as business as usual. That’s what the city is telling us to do. So it’s our time as a community to step up and make things as fun as we can and make them as safe as they need to be,” said Cody Cowan, Executive Director of Red River Cultural District.
He said the line ups are still being finalized, but expect venues all across Austin to fill out their day and night schedules with local and national bands.
Cowan explained that when the city announced the cancellations of South By Southwest: “This amazing beautiful landscape puzzle that you designed, it took you three months to put together, and then your friend came in and flipped it off the table. So now, any one person isn’t going to be able to put that together. Now, everyone’s coming together, matching the pieces up, sharing their networks and sharing their team works.”
Trish Connelly books bands for Cheer Up Charlie’s on Red River Street. “Just trying to work as quickly, hustling with what we can to make events happen all week long,” she told KXAN.
After SXSW’s cancellation, Connelly said she heard from artists “questioning what does this mean?” Some bands told her “We booked our flights. We booked our hotels. We are currently on tour. We’re still planning to come through Austin. What options do we have?“
Venues all across Austin are part of the We Can Do Magic coalition.
“We’re kind of working with showcases that were supposed to happen during South By,” Connelly said. “We are planning day parties. We are planning night shows. Utilizing the inside and outside stage.”
“Many of us have known each other 10, 20, 30 years and have all worked on projects with each other, and in competition with each other,” Cowan said. “It would’ve taken us three months to do all this work. We all accomplished that in three days.”
Cowan said the venues will be open just like any other day or night in Austin. If they normally charge a cover, they will. He said, you don’t need to buy a special ticket for the week long initiative.
You can check the Red River Cultural District’s website for line up information.
Regarding safety and concerns about coronavirus, the group said:
We take the public health and safety of our customers, staff, venue staff, and artists we book extremely seriously, and we are following all guidelines outlined by local public health officials who have determined there is no need to stop the music at this time.
As part of the “We Can Do Magic” collaboration among venues, additional hand-washing stations will be available in an effort to provide safe and clean environments. All venues will ensure frequent cleaning of venue spaces and urge anyone experiencing symptoms to stay home. All venues are beneath the cap of 2,500 set by the City of Austin for public gatherings.
If you’re feeling sick and can’t participate or you’d rather donate to local musicians, venues and entertainment industry workers, you can donate here.