Building & Fostering an Online Audience


Panel Description:
Join us as we talk to several successful artists whose experience during the pandemic lead them to recalibrate their plans and focus on building a deeper relationship with their audience. This conversation will explore the successes and pitfalls of the last year as our panelists discuss their lessons learned.
This panel is proudly presented by NERFA, the Northeast regional affiliate of Folk Alliance International. NERFA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to nurture, engage and empower the folk music community. Follow @NERFAlliance on instagram and twitter.

Emma’s Revolution:
“Fervent and heartfelt” ~ The New York Times. Known for fearless, truth-telling lyrics and melodies you can’t resist singing, Emma’s Revolution is the dynamic, award-winning activist duo of Pat Humphries & Sandy O. The duo’s songs have been sung for the Dalai Lama, praised by Pete Seeger and covered by Holly Near. “Our work has always been about building connection, love and justice through song,” the duo says. “During this pandemic, we have moved as much of our work online as possible, creating opportunities for people to have a sense of connectedness, solace and joy, even in this challenging time.”


Heather Mae & Crys Matthews:
Heather Mae and Crys Matthews are in the midst of their Singing Out tour that has seen them virtually drop into cities across the U.S. from Portland, Oregon to Asheville, North Carolina. Their 20-plus date trek moved online after social gathering bans to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus halted physical touring across the globe. The duo decided quickly to continue to provide support for their community by creating a tour that still celebrated Pride and brought locals together virtually. Throughout their tour, Mae and Matthews perform at LGBTQ+ venues or LGBTQ+ affirming rooms to encourage safe spaces and have continued to work with the same venues for their virtual dates. The tour, which hits various cities across the country, is being treated like an in-person trek. Shows are not booked in overlapping regions and venues are promoting the gigs that take place in Mae’s home as if they are specifically for local fans. In addition to continuing to engage their fans and support LGBTQ+ venues, the Singing Out tour is bringing local fans together in the absence of Pride celebrations.
The ADAM EZRA GROUP has redefined and reimagined their mission to support and connect to their community during the COVID-19 epidemic. Typically, this roots-steeped, activism-inspired band is out on the road, playing over 200 shows a year. Devastated when their tour was cancelled in March, and feeling a bit down, front man Adam Ezra decided to take the show online. The Gathering Series was created and to date has reached over 12 million engaged viewers around the world. This series goes live on Facebook EVERY night at 7PM EST. Even when Adam was himself sick with COVID, or getting married, or moving across country, the show has gone on. As of December 31st, 2020, they have Gathered 294 nights in a row.
Adam says of the series, “The mission for me has always been to share the most honest parts of myself, both on stage and through my writing. This whole journey began on a whim as I found myself sitting home on a Friday night after canceling our first show. I felt sad and scared and decided to turn my phone on and share that with our fan community. It has been incredibly inspiring to watch our community connect to these Gatherings so passionately.”
The Adam Ezra Group released their much anticipated single, Find A Way, this past year as well, releasing a new official video on YouTube and the digital single on all digital platforms. With over 130K views on YouTube and nearly 60K listens on Spotify since its release, this feel-good, a cappella song speaks directly to the power of community to overcome the dysfunction, corruption, and fear we all see and feel as we remain locked in our homes. This past summer, AEG worked tirelessly to create a safe way to perform live. They developed “The Gathering Series Live” and began a series of pop-up, underground concerts, following strict social distancing protocols, local and state regulations, and a lot of hard work by their grassroots community. AEG was able to perform 50 live outdoor events with no COVID incidents before the cooling weather forced everyone indoors again. In the midst of it all, they also managed to organize a 24-hour non-stop livestream event that raised enough money to help 64 veteran heroes off the streets and into safe and dignified housing.
AEG is looking forward to 2021, and planning the start of “The Album Project,” which will include the release of 18 new studio singles over the course of the next 2 years. The band is kicking off the project with fan favorite, All Right Today, which will be released in mid-January. They will then gear up for the 1-year anniversary of the Gathering Series on March 13th, with their second single release. They plan to kickstart the Gathering Series Live events again in the Spring and are hoping for a return to touring full out this Summer.
AEG’s unconventional approach to performance, connection, and activism through music has allowed them to grow beyond their beloved hometown of Boston and emerge as a uniquely powerful, live music experience that underground audiences have been discovering around the country. Ironically it is the complete dismantling of their 2020 tour that has forced them to innovate and allowed their voices and music to surge beyond anything they’ve done before.
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