Ways Small Music Scenes Are Supporting Local Activism

Everyone in their own little music scene understands the sense of community it brings. So it’s no surprise that music communities everywhere have been shining brightly with their ability to work together right now.

A small music scene is just a bunch of local bands and music lovers working together to put on shows, create music, and foster an overall welcoming community for the art. They may not be large corporations able to donate millions to the Black Lives Matter movement at the drop of a hat, but these scenes can still make a difference.

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Burger Records, Epitaph Records, Greenway Records—all small indie record labels— are donating the money they make during the first Fridays of every month when Bandcamp waives all their artist fees, to Black Lives Matter and associated organizations. All the artists within those small labels agree to donate their profits, too. These are artists who usually have two or three jobs to stay afloat, and they’re giving everything they can to the movement. When several small communities come together, change is possible.

Here in NYC, you see the owner of Siren Sounds Lindsey Gardner, a show curator and event producer, partnering with Trans-Pecos—a small DIY venue in Ridgewood, Queens—to create a safe space where people can volunteer, donate supplies for protestors, and pick up free supplies if they’re protesting.


And speaking of Trans-Pecos, owner Dan Lynch—who also runs another DIY venue called Market Hotel in Brooklyn as well as NYCTaper, an online archive of live show recordings—is also a public defender. Lynch has been working as a criminal defense and civil rights attorney in NYC for decades and has been offering pro-bono work for protestors since the early 2000s.

Not everyone can afford to work for free or donate money in small music scenes, of course. But providing time, spreading awareness and education is also vital. Emo Nite LA, an online source for emo music with over 150K followers, is using their large platform to spread anti-racist information. This past week they hosted a conversation, led by Black voices from the music scene, talking about racism in punk and alternative music. Even if you missed it live on their IGtv, they made it available on YouTube.

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These are just a few examples of how small local music scenes are working hard to make a difference and create a more just society for their art to live and thrive in. And since they’re small, it’s easy to participate and donate whatever you can (time, money, supplies, etc.) to these efforts. If you’re looking for a way to get involved,  try reaching out to people in your own local music scene to find ways you can stay strong and help continue the fight for justice.