Musicians performing a fundraising event for the Aak’w Rock Indigenous Music Festival were soaking in the benevolence — and a bit of dishwater — during a multi-concert evening at Crystal Saloon livestreamed to what organizers hoped was an intergalactic audience.
The Amplify Alaska Fundraising Festival topped the $5,000 mark just as the last of the five performers finished his final song, easily surpassing the $3,000 goal set to benefit the biennial Indigenous musical festival next scheduled for Sept. 21-23. The fundraising event is available free on YouTube, showcasing the mix of live performances and podcasts featuring the performers that were available to both people at the Crystal Saloon and watching from afar.
“It’s going to be quite the multimedia event,” said Yngvil Vatn Guttu, co-creator of Amplify Alaska, before the first featured musician took the stage. With people still flowing into the saloon she observed “we have lots of people at the Crystal Saloon live from Juneau, Alaska, and lots of people sitting, we hope, in other cities, other countries, other atmospheres, other universes.”
The evening mix of virtuosity and virtual came together nearly flawlessly, save for a leak from a dishwasher on the upper floor that happened to be located above the stage. That made for a few “rain” quips before everyone was able to make a clean exit.
The podcasts by the performers featured discussions about their music, culture and plans for the upcoming Aak’w Rock, promoted as the only Indigenous music festival in the United States. Alaska performing artist Qacung, one of the Aak’w Rock organizers who was last to take the state Saturday night, told Guttu during a podcast broadcast before his set this year’s September schedule is based on local feedback suggesting a preference for the “shoulder season” when cruise ship traffic is tapering off.
“We are right on the very tip of the shoulder,” he told Guttu.
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