The Land of 10,000 Streams Online Music Festival is presenting more than 50 acts, ranging from hip-hop to Americana, this weekend (March 5-7).
When Alan Bengtson, director and co-founder, started the festival last year as a way to support regional musicians during stay-at-home orders, he hoped there would be no need for a second one.
“If I sit too long thinking about the devastation this pandemic has caused, it is really easy to get depressed,” he said.
To counteract this misery, Bengtson chooses to distract himself with music. The festival, partially sponsored by The Current, offers musicians a way to gather support while sharing their songs. The rest of the funding comes from listener donations.
Bengston called it a “free, pass-the-hat festival,” where participants can give directly to the bands they watch via PayPal or Venmo through the website (www.landof10kstreams.com).
Last year’s concert far exceeded the eponymous 10,000 streams, Bengtson said — performances reached viewers in 48 states, and on six different continents.
The 2021 fest boasts some of the region’s musical favorites, such as NUR-D, Chris Koza, Annie Mack, Jillian Rae, Gabriel Douglas, and Mother Banjo.
Local musician Jeremy Jewell (performing at 6 p.m. Saturday) said his performance at the festival last year was one of his first livestreamed shows.
“Now I really enjoy doing livestreams; it allows for a cool interaction you normally don’t get,” he said. “It’s a nice feeling to know there’s other people out there, and everyone’s going through everything together.”
Megan Kleven, another second-year participant, said she’s glad that the Land of 10,000 Streams focuses on the Minnesota music scene.
“A year later, events are still being postponed and canceled,” she said, “so it’s really nice to have this festival to help people connect, support each other, and have something to look forward to during our cold winter season.”
Kleven will perform at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
While the second annual Land of 10,000 Streams Online Music Festival is a lifeline for many performers and music lovers, Bengtson hopes it’ll be the last one he organizes.
“Even though it’s incredibly fun to work with these wonderful musicians to promote their livestreamed performances,” he said, “I really don’t want to be doing this a year from now.”
If you go
What: Land of 10,000 Streams Online Music Festival
When: Various times March 5-7
Cost: Goodwill offerings to individual performers