AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been six months since Austin-Travis County health officials reported the first COVID-19 case in the area. For musicians, the pandemic resulted in lost gigs, canceled concerts and closed music venues leaving the “The Live Music Capital of the World” silent.
Those are just some of the hurdles some musicians have had to face. Just like everyone, the threat of COVID-19 continues to be the reality. For some musicians, the lack of healthcare brings new challenges.
“If ever the mission of something like HAAM was important, 2020 has shown how important it is to have access to affordable healthcare,” Reenie Collins explained.
Collins is the executive director of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM. On Wednesday, the nonprofit aims to raise $600,000 for its 15th annual HAAM Day. This year, the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser will go virtual and be livestreamed. The money raised will provide access to affordable healthcare and health services to musicians.
“The music industry has been hit hard, it was hit first, it was hit hardest and it’s going to be the last to come back,” Collins said.
For every dollar raised, Collins said they are able to turn into $7 worth of health services for musicians.
“Musicians are the reason Austin is so cool, so please anything that you can spare to help HAAM is going to be helping Austin musicians,” Nakia Reynoso said.
Reynoso, an Austin musician, said it’s been tough. He misses the connection, the bond with fans, bands and the music itself.
“It’s been really psychologically difficult for me and for many of my musician friends,” he explained. “It is such a key part of what fuels us and keeps us going.”
HAAM Open Enrollment
For musicians in need of health insurance, HAAM Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace is coming up in November. Musicians in need of help navigating the marketplace can sign up for an appointment with HAAM to get help through the process virtually.