Hosted by Edmonton indie country act Dan Davidson, the Diesel Bird Digital Music Festival is a two-day charity event running online this weekend with a stellar all-star roots-oriented lineup that is raising money for Unison Benevolent Fund and Canadian Red Cross. All artist merch sales (after covering cost) go towards these two causes as well.
Dallas Smith, Tebey, Terri Clark, Jason McCoy, Corb Lund, Jess Moskaluke, Wide Mouth Mason, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, The Washboard Union, Meghan Patrick, and Big Sugar are just a few of the 40-plus marquee names confirmed to perform at the Instagram online-fest this Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm EST from their respective homes.
"It's all for the fans and to support each other as artists and as Canadians in a time of crisis," Davidson enthuses.
Continuing: “I started reaching out to some musicians I know. Some of the bigger artists that, you know, I knew would want to be behind it, like Dallas Smith and Tebey, and before long it had legs and sponsors (Coors and Stingray Digital are co-presenting).
“I'm looking around and seeing all my friends’ tours been cancelled and events being cancelled and, and as you know, Canadian musicians, sometimes 75% of our income comes from summer shows and now I'm starting to see the landscape change where we're all questioning where the income is going to be for us. Sort of a little scary and, and I know that unison Benevolent Fund is a thing that a lot of artists can lean on if they need it, whether it's help with mental health or financial assistance or anything like that. It's there to support musicians. And it's not always the big guys, you know; it's not always the top artists in Canada. There are so many of us trying to work and get our names out there. And, you know, often there's going to be times that are really tough. And this (pandemic) is going to be one of them.
“As musicians in our community, we want it to come together and find a way to support ourselves as a country during this whole thing. So, we're partnering also with the Red Cross to help with prevention and treatment efforts. mean, I think it's gonna be really cool. We have a merch store, everyone can donate, everyone can, and all the proceeds go towards these causes.
On the event itself, Davidson had this to say:
“It's all through Instagram Live. We wanted to make it the easiest possible way for people to a consumer and for artists to be able to join in without having to think too much. So, basically, what happens is, I'll be at my studio hosting the whole thing on Instagram Live and I'll start off pretty much every hour talking about the cause and the sponsors and acknowledging some of the people involved and then when fans and artists will come on I'll pull an artist into a split screen with me, they'll chat with fans, we'll talk about what's been cancelled for them what they're doing to make it up, whatever they're working on, and then they'll play a couple of songs and then we go to the next artist.
“You know, we may find your favourite artists sitting in their jammies eating cereal; I don't know, but it'll be something that a fan has never seen before and we're really excited it's gonna be three hours on the 28th and on the 29th. The lineup, it's packed and I'm gonna have to be on my toes.”