The coronavirus pandemic we’ve been living with the last few months has been hard on just about everybody – financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically.
With all the emotions that have come with getting through this time, one of the things that has really stood out has been people’s willingness to unite to help each other.
Case in point: This Saturday and Sunday, a group called Underground Musicians For Navajo/Pueblo COVID-19 Relief will host an online music festival called Solidarity Fest. The festival will feature several internationally known folk/blues/country artists, and will also include local musicians Slackeye Slim and Brendan Shafer of Six Dollar String Band.
Frankland, who is Mancos-based musician Slackeye Slim, said his wife actually came up with the idea for the two-day festival.
“I did a fundraiser for Feeding America right when the COVID stuff started to get really bad. In the middle of that, the Navajo Nation started getting hit really hard. We finished up (the fundraiser), which was just me and a friend of mine from Michigan, and we did OK with it, so then I ended up reaching out to a friend who put me in touch with another friend to organize this festival,” he said. “Initially, we were thinking it was going to be a pretty small deal with just some local bands, but we ended up getting Charlie Parr and Possessed by Paul James and ... I was pretty impressed.”
What Frankland thought was going to be a pretty small deal has turned into a lineup of 23 artists from the United States and beyond. There are enough artists, in fact, to provide hours of performances between Saturday and Sunday.
Virtual festivalgoers can access the shows through Facebook Live – the link is www.facebook.com/groups/SolidarityFestival – you don’t have to be a member of Facebook to watch it, but if want to donate you do have to have a Facebook account because the festival is using Facebook’s fundraising platform.
And for Frankland, using music is his way of being able to help those who need it.
“It’s hard to watch people suffering like this and not really getting a whole lot of help,” he said. “I’ve been interested in Native issues for a long time, and this was just a way that I could feasibly use my resources to help.”