Two Rochester breweries and musicians who work at them are helping keep cash flowing for local musicians.
Little Thistle Brewing Co. and Thesis Beer Project teamed up with the Rochester Thawmusic festival to brew a festival-themed beer — "It’s the Thaw-t That Counts." However, the second year of the festival, scheduled for March 21, was called offas part of statewide efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
That left the breweries and the festival with seven barrels — about 220 gallons — of beer, and several performers without a gig.
Proceeds from sales of to-go crowlers of the beer are going toward a GoFundMefundraiser for area musicians.
On Sunday, Audrey Robinson, Little Thistle staff member and frontwoman for Peas and Carrot, performed a virtual concertfrom Little Thistle to raise funds for the effort.
Classified as a food-production facility, work continues at Little Thistle.
"It’s one of two places I can go with the shelter-in-place," Robinson said, referring to a general stay-at-home order for all noncritical workers statewide that took effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Peas and Carrot is one of the acts that was booked for the Thaw festival. However, Robinson said she doesn’t perform very often and is still working her day job at Little Thistle. Other musicians aren’t so lucky, she added.
Although her in-house audience will be small, Robinson said she hopes people tune in to the livestream and support the cause.
"There are so many musicians in the Rochester area that are missing out on more shows," she said, adding that many musicians who work service-industry jobs have been hit twice.
"A lot of those jobs are gone right now, and the venues are all closed," she said.
"Once all this stuff started and businesses and restaurants were shutting down, and shows and festivals were getting canceled, there were artists and people saying their income is basically gone," said Nick Novotny, festival founder and organizer.
The Rochester Downtown Alliance, which granted $2,150 to the festival, is allowing remaining grant funding to go toward the fundraiser.
"We’re just looking to get back to square one again for next year," Novotny said. "We’re not going to completely drain the bank."
Novotny is also a Little Thistle employee, and a member of Loud Mouth Brass.
Some organizations that help artists with emergency funding, such as Springboard for the Arts, are seeing their resources stretched thin. Novotny said keeping this fundraiser narrowed to Rochester musicians will help funds go further for those who need it.
"We’re trying to keep it specific to Rochester," he said. "We have a handful of full-time musicians here, and we want to help support them and keep them here."
Novotny said he’s still working to set up an application process for musicians to access the funds. However, he said applicants will be vetted.
"We’re looking at supporting anybody whose entire income is based on playing music so they can keep doing that here when this is over," he said.
People can donate directly to the GoFundMe campaignor buy a crowler of "It’s the Thaw-t That Counts" at Little Thistle.