Detroit Musicians Come Together to Help Struggling Artists

By: Scott Davis | June 1, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils.

With live events on-hold for the foreseeable future, many Detroit musicians who rely on live gigs are struggling without those paychecks. Now, Detroit area musicians are banding together to help those in need.

Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils came back from touring when the Coronavirus pandemic hit. When they realized that future plans for everyone’s upcoming shows were cancelled, they decided to do something about it.

Jennifer Westwood reached out to the ‘Playing in the Detroit Area Tonight’ Facebook page and asked people to nominate musicians who might be struggling due to the Coronavirus pandemic. She gathered all of the nominated musicians, put their names in a hat and then on a livestream on their Facebook page, collected tips and donated it to the musician.

Westwood thought this would go on for a week or two, but the group is now in their eighth week of collecting donations. Their weekly donations are now in the $1,500 to $2,000 range and the number of nominations goes up every week. 

They are now looking to also nominate local venue employees, sound men, stage crew or others who have been hit by the pandemic. Restaurants have even gotten involved by donating gift cards or credit for musicians to use at their establishments.

Westwood has been blown away by the support and the generosity of the Metro Detroit community. It took off more than she thought it would and would love to keep it going.

“It’s been a bright light for me, such an encouragement to see different parts of the community come together,” Westwood said. “It says a lot about the musicians and venue owners.”

It’s not only been a great way to support those who rely on live gigs for money in a time of need, but it also encourages people to discover and hear new music. Westwood added that she has interacted with musicians from genres she never would have crossed and has introduced her to new music. She encourages people to check out these local musicians on their various BandCamp, Spotify, SoundCloud, or other streaming services.

Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils are continuing to perform live music on their Facebook page and their new music can be found on Spotify. The group also provides updates on the donations on their Facebook page. If you would like to get involved, be sure to follow the ‘Playing in the Detroit Area Tonight’ Facebook group where you can nominate and be a part of the Detroit music community.