As the live performance sector struggles to find its footing in the face of COVID-19, Side Door is increasing its ongoing commitment to serve artists by creating shows anytime, anywhere. As of March, the platform now includes ticketed live-streamed shows.
Unlike many live streams being hosted online during the pandemic, Side Door shows are bucking the trend of free performances in favour of setting up private, ticketed streaming events as a means to generate revenue for artists. They are also waiving any commission fees for the month of April, ensuring all ticket sales go directly back to the performers.
“Side Door has always used entertainment as a means to foster community and it remains our core offering. When people buy a ticket for something, they put it in their calendar and tune in for the full event. These online shows via Side Door offer a sustainable model for artists that doesn’t rely on donations,” says Side Door co-founder, Dan Mangan. “Rather than broadcasting to the world for a couple of minutes passively, our artists are establishing valuable impromptu communities and a real sense of connection.”
Since mid-March, Mangan has performed online each Saturday for fans across the world, donating his proceeds to local causes such as the Vancouver Food Bank and Shelter Movers. His last concert, hosted on March 28, involved more than 600 ticket-holders participating in a massive Zoom meeting. The large online gathering of families, self-isolators, and people from all walks of life interacted with each other via video, dancing, singing along, and cracking jokes on the chat thread.
“With so many people in isolation, we want to continue to foster a sense of community through art in a virtual environment but do that in a way that puts the wellbeing of the artist first,” says platform co-founder Laura Simpson. “Working closely with artists and hosts to create memorable moments with people in unique spaces is at the heart of Side Door’s mission and right now those spaces have to be online.”
In addition to connecting hosts and artists for live-streamed events, Side Door also offers user-friendly tips, resources, and best practices to guide those involved through the process, including crucial but often-overlooked education about how to optimize your Zoom settings for a performance.
The move to online offerings isn’t solely for musicians. Following the model of some of their popular in-person events such as salon talks with broadcaster Alan Cross, Side Door’s virtual series also helps host lectures, talks, and a variety of informative sessions. From make-up tutorials hosted by songwriter Christina Martin, to a talk and Q&A with pop artist T. Thomason on the Transgender Day of Visibility, the platform’s versatility continues to help creatives thrive in a time of global uncertainty.
Since its launch, more than 2200 artists and nearly 900 venues have signed up to be part of the platform, resulting in nearly 700 Side Door shows throughout North America. Learn more about Side Door.