Portland’s do-it-yourself attitude is one of our greatest assets. It’s what drives so many artists and entrepreneurs to strike out on our own, embracing the hustle to make ends meet while living a lifestyle of independence and enjoying the freedom to create meaningful works of art.
But is this same spirit—and the ego that comes along with it—one of the biggest things holding us back?
As producers of art, do we suffer from if you build it, they will come-itis? At what point does a genuine drive teeter into the ill-fated assumption that good work will spontaneously beget attention?
As Portlanders, we take pride in our DIY arts culture, but as consumers, do we always show up to support it? Or do we take it for granted, assuming that the demise of one band, or venue, or collective, means something fresh will arise from the ashes?
The truth is, for any of this to be sustainable in our capitalist society, we have to make money. So we also have to put our money where our mouths—or ideologies—are. Because guess what? Your local record store won’t stay open if you’re exclusively streaming music. And your favorite musician won’t be gigging around town—or even living here—if she can’t afford it.
We all have to spend our hard-earned cash on essentials like housing and food. But what comes next? Who do you value in your life that may rely on your $5 cover charge or $10 Kickstarter donation to sustain themselves?
What price do you put on experiences and the easy, consistent, abundant access to such things?
It comes down to this: The local music scene needs to know that we value it with more than just a like or a share. Musicians, radio stations, magazines and venues generously give their time, energy and expertise—not to mention operating costs—to ensure that our culture remains rich. Let’s return the favor and invest in their growth so that we can continue to enjoy this incredible city and all the DIY glory blossoming here.
Chris Young Editor-In-Chief