A pivot from music industry worker to music industry advocate
“Horrible, terrible, wonderful, humiliating,” said Jeannette Gregor, describing the year since South by Southwest’s cancellation in March 2020.
She said she was feeling all the emotions she could get.
Before the pandemic, Gregor wore several hats: she was a bartender, event coordinator, music festival production worker, screenwriter. When things first came to a standstill in Austin, she was annoyed by how often people in those industries were asked to pivot.
“It made me so angry, because it’s like, you know, would you do that to a doctor?” Would you do that to a surgeon? Would you do this to a lawyer? ” she said.
Gregor said she felt her peers were being left out of relief efforts, and she saw an opportunity to step in and advocate for them.
“This anger manifested itself in maybe the biggest pivot I could do,” she said, “which was [taking] everything I know about running the bar, taking everything I know about festival production, then taking everything I know about scriptwriting and storytelling, mixing it all up and becoming an advocate and activist of our event community.
She teamed up with Dan Holloway, who had been the event organizer at Barracuda, to form the Amplified Sound Coalition.
The coalition was created to keep industry careers relevant to the live music capital of the world and to help unemployed people in the struggling event industry “in every way possible,” according to his website.
One of the first actions of the Amplified Sound Coalition was to push city council to adopt the SAVES resolution (Save Austin’s Vital Economic Sectors). The measure, passed a year ago, has allocated $ 10 million in emergency aid to local venues through the Live Music Preservation Fund and the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant.
TASC’s work extends beyond the music scene.
During the February winter storm, he joined ATX Musicians, the Texas Music Workforce Coalition, and Austin City Council member Natasha Harper Madison to help distribute food and supplies to Austinites who were affected by blackouts. electricity and water.
“I think 50 volunteers showed up on day one, day two, and we had 100 volunteers,” Gregor said. “It was absolutely amazing how many people showed up and then rushed over and got down to business.”
When Mohawk reopened in May, Gregor was hired full time as the site manager. His return to the club did not stop his work with TASC. She formalizes the group’s nonprofit status and has started writing about her experiences during the pandemic. His account will be published as a fundraiser; the money will be used to help local industry workers with food and medical bills.
As if that weren’t enough, Gregor is also working on organizing an acoustic series in Mohawk that will benefit TASC.
Click the listen button above to hear the Pause / Play episode “One Year Later,” where members of Austin’s music ecosystem describe how the pandemic has affected them.
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