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Music Venues Look to Crowdfunding to Help Out-of-Work Employees

Dazzle has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help its 49 employees.EXPAND
Dazzle has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help its 49 employees.
Danielle Lirette

It is a week into what is slated to be a two-month city-mandated closure of bars and music venues to prevent the spread of COVID-19; many bartenders, talent buyers, sound engineers and other music-industry people are now without jobs. Last week, we reported what the hi-dive, Mutiny Information Cafe and Cervantes' were doing to help their employees and musicians, while over the past week there have been other crowdfunding campaigns launched for employees of Dazzle, Your Mom's House, Streets Denver, and AEG Presents Rocky Mountains-run venues.

Denver Loves Music Service Industry Workers Relief is a GoFundMe campaign for bartenders and barbacks at AEG venues, including the Bluebird, Gothic and Ogden theaters and the Mission Ballroom. Campaign organizer Careen Warren asks folks to donate what they would have spent on a bar tab at one of the venues.

"Denver has a great music scene, and we’re all trying to pull together and help each other," Warren writes on the campaign's site. "With the entire restaurant and service industry shut down, it’s difficult for us to find work, it’s even more difficult for us to ask for help. We are used to working hard for our money, and we have other skills and talents besides being bad-ass bartenders. We are all a part of the gig economy; we are artists, musicians, writers, teachers, graphic designers and more...

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"If you have a few extra bucks from your entertainment budget you saved by staying at home during this quarantine, we’d appreciate your help here," she adds. "Thank you Denver. We love you, we miss you and can’t wait to rock on with you all very soon. Keep a little song in your hearts for us. We will get by."

Dazzle owner Donald Rossa started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $49,000 ($1,000 for each of his venue and restaurant's 49 employees) to help them get through the next two months.

"Our employees, many who live paycheck to paycheck, are in need of support for rent, food, healthcare, utilities, etc.," the campaign states. "If you are able to donate in this time of uncertainty, please do, our staff will greatly appreciate any support."

Your Mom's House, which opened three years ago in the former Beauty Bar/Snake Pit location, launched a GoFundMe campaign that includes goodies in exchange for donations. For $5, you get a sticker; for $5,000, you get two nights of venue/bar rental, two YMH hoodies, two YMH hats, two YMH T-shirts and more. Forty percent of the donations will be given directly to the out-of-work employees, while the other 60 percent will go to the venue to help pay rent, salaried employees, and costs associated with the donation packages.

Corey Pfaff of Black Box sent out a notice on Monday announcing that the electronic music club would be hosting a GoFundMe campaign to support staff and the cost of keeping the club alive.

"We are organizing a GoFundMe to help aid our staff as well as contribute to business expenses that are required to keep an independent company such as our own operating during the shut down," Pfaff wrote. "We never imagined we would be in this situation, but today we are asking the help of our community by donating to or even simply sharing the link in this time of need."

Natacha Fortis, who recently started working at Streets Denver, also started a GoFundMe campaign for the music venue on East Colfax.

"I can honestly say that the Streets Denver team is absolutely wonderful!" Fortis wrote. "They are lovely humans who love and support their loyal customers, and each other. They have ALL made me feel at home from Day 1, and I know they do the same for their patrons on a daily basis."

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