Bobby Rogers lost big money after South by Southwest was canceled this year.
Also known in Denver's hip-hop scene as King FOE, Rogers is a partner in Grungecake, a multimedia company, publicity firm and lifestyle website that showcases new and upcoming talent. For Grungecake’s thirteenth anniversary, he planned to throw a SXSW bash at the Parish in Austin. Sebu Simonian of the indie-pop duo Capital Cities would make his solo debut; Neon Dreams and Drillminister were also scheduled to play.
But when SXSW was canceled as Austin declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, Rogers assumed he would get his money back for the venue rental — or at least be able to reschedule.
“That’s not what happened,” Rogers says. “The owner of the Parish hit us up, and he was like, ‘No, I’m not giving any refunds. We’re not doing that. You can either still come out here and do the show, or that’s just it.’”
Grungecake had also paid for Airbnb rentals for the artists, as well as their transportation. Rogers says they ended up losing everything they put into the bash. But fortunately, Rogers, who is a voting member of the Recording Academy, reached out to MusiCares, the academy’s charitable foundation that offers financial assistance to music-industry professionals.
“MusiCares is a really dope foundation that I think a lot of artists don’t even know about,” Rogers says. “It’s literally centered for artists. If there’s a disaster or illness or something that’s stopping you from being able to work, they actually can help. They do actually step in and assist and can provide certain financial help for artists that are out there struggling, especially during this time.”
MusiCares recently established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help people in the music community affected by coronavirus and who have lost income over the cancellation of gigs because of the pandemic.
“They’re going to help as far as my personal experience,” Rogers says. “And I don’t think I’m different than any other artist or any other promoter or any other person that’s affected within the music industry by this at all. A lot of people were having events. A lot of people just can’t go to work anymore, can’t just do simple things. They can’t tour because all the venues are shut down.”
Rogers says that it's worth a shot for artists to apply, even if they only receive a few hundred dollars.
“They’re helping supplement something,” he says. “I personally would suggest that every artist hit up MusiCares. And it’s not that you have to be part of the Recording Academy; that’s not a requirement. You just have to be an active artist or active person within music. So you could be a manager or publicist or a writer, promoter — anything involved with the music entertainment industry.”