As Smash Mouth so wisely said: “Well the years start coming and they don’t stop coming.” As 2018 wound down, I reflected on where I am now and where I’d like to be at this time next year.
We’re not getting any younger, yet the music industry is moving faster and faster as this city continues to evolve—and it’s not cautiously awaiting our input before it does. What we all dread—and frequently discuss—is the very real potential that the creative class who make Portland what it is could be further pushed out till there are none left.
But it does us no good to dwell on our nostalgia. We need to turn that energy into action and make the future we’d like to see.
Fortunately, there are folks out there who’ve got our back. For years, the Musicians Union has fought for the rights of professional musicians, while many other small business owners and artists themselves have spearheaded efforts to affect social, cultural and political change for the better. But there’s only so much that these disparate groups can do, which is why it’s important for all artists, educators, music businesses, venues, creative services, and even fans to come together and show our strength in numbers.
MusicPortland, our city’s new industry advocacy group, unites all who are mindful of our music scene’s future. I am proud to be a board member of this important organization. Whether fighting for all-ages access or against the city’s inequitable seismic update mandate—which threatens numerous beloved venues like the LaurelThirst, Dante’s, Crystal, Kelly’s, Polaris Hall, White Eagle and The Liquor Store—this a place where you can stand up and share your voice.
UPDATE: A coalition including MusicPortland, the NAACP, Save Portland Buildings, Portland Tenants United and many concerned citizens have successfully lobbied City Hall as Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty just announced she will delay the mandatory labeling of older brick (aka unreinforced masonry) buildings that could be unsafe in the event of an earthquake.
Every first Monday of the month, MusicPortland gathers with musicians, industry pros and advocates to address the issues facing our community, offering updates on initiatives and inspiring through actionable items and success stories. Plus, you get to simply drink a beer with your music-minded peers, talk about what’s fueling you, and meet others in our vibrant music scene.
It’s time be proactive and take control of our future. Empower yourself through education at our quarterly music biz panels as our Get Paid! series continues on Sunday, February 10 at the Doug Fir. Learn from working musicians, bookers and promoters how to get gigs in town as well as get out on the road—read more here. Showing up means you can ask your own questions and connect with professionals, but if you really can’t make it in person, live stream the discussion—thanks to AudioGlobe—at VRTXMAG.COM/STREAM
As this issue addresses, there is much we can accomplish to make the local music scene—and our world—a friendlier, more supportive and fair place: It just takes coming together as a community and fighting the good fight.
If you want to make it in the music biz, stand up for what you believe in and go out there and get it.
We’ll see you out there.
Chris Young Editor-In-Chief