A wide array of talent from across a massive state filled the Juneau Arts & Culture Center throughout Saturday as more than 75 local musicians, producers, Indigenous creators, audio engineers, composers and residents from across Alaska joined together to attend the fourth annual Alaska Music Summit via Zoom and in-person after a two-year hiatus.
This year’s summit is another year of what organizers said they hope continues to be a recurring and growing event that highlights local creators that make up the music community across Alaska. The event was put on by an effort between Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Northern Culture Exchange and MusicAlaska/Alaska Independent Musicians Initiative.
“It’s a gathering of a ragtag band of artists who care and are trying to communicate,” said Marian Call, an organizer of the event and well-known Juneau singer-songwriter.
The panel featured live performances and discussions on topics in the Alaska music industry like artistry and adversity, along with other topics that might seem boring to your average rockstar, like talking business, funding and data. However, the panelists explored why these topics are necessary steps needed to be taken in the Alaska music community to keep the vast amounts of talent in the state alive and growing.
“It’s so important to connect,” said Kat Moore, a speaker and performer at the event who traveled from Anchorage to attend. “We can learn so much from each other and help each other.”
Meghan Johnson, executive director of Juneau Alaska Music Matters, was one of the many attendees at the event. JAMM is an organization that works to support more than 500 local students and youths in the Juneau community that are pursuing and performing music, and
Johnson said she attended Saturday’s panel to build connections with other local musicians and find more opportunities for her students.
She said COVID-19 had a significant impact on both JAMM and the music scene in Juneau and called the present a time of “reinventing” how the music community connects and interacts with each other both in Southeast Alaska and across the state.
“Where do we fit in the community? What does resiliency mean to a performer? We want to support performers locally and explore other opportunities for our students to perform in unique, diverse ways,” she said.
Call said she hopes the event encourages the Juneau community — and communities across the state — to look at ways they can support local artists, and keep the local music scene’s momentum going after the pandemic halted a lot of opportunities.
“We want to keep working toward building a larger community,” she said. “We want to open more ways for people to share their music to the community and the state, and as a musician be part of this huge community and feel welcomed.”