Canadian Music and the Occupy Movement
On the U.S. side of the border the Occupy Wall Street protest, and its relatives across the country have received massive amounts of support from celebrities. Musically there have been appearances by, among others, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelso, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Perry Farrell, Talib Kweli and Michael Franti.
On the Canadian side only Our Lady Peace seems to be getting involved. Whether this is because musicians are too busy, or because they don’t understand what the protest is about is unclear. The video below should give you a better idea of just what the agenda of Occupy is. Occupy is a great opportunity for musicians to support the movement and their community though – whether they are established acts or just starting out.
For new bands it represents a somewhat unique opportunity as there is something of a captive audience. So far the only thing that has caused protesters to abandon a site is a heavily armed police presence so there is a good chance that the audience will stay to listen to you and, no doubt, would appreciate the support.
Musicians who are interested in appearing should contact local organizers first as some locations might not be able to provide the electricity for amplifiers and electric instruments. Simply heading down to your local encampment with an electric guitar though could win a band or artist a lot of new friends and fans among people who are cold and, at times, starved for entertainment.
For those who don’t know what Occupy is about here is the clearest statement yet from Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly (and virtually all of these statements are equally true in Canada.):