Austin musicians band together for a day of concerts. Bands started playing early this morning and the music will continue until early tomorrow morning. It's the 7th year for this city wide music event and it's all about keeping musicians health one note at a time.
It is a scene and a sound that's all Austin. The attraction is so strong Anne Sofie has crossed the Atlantic 18 times to be here.
"Since I'm from Norway it's the weather of course, but like it's the music that's number one," said Sofie.
Sofie's Austin holiday is loaded with music.
Two hundred and thirty bands signed up to perform at locations all across town in order to raise money. Last year donations from this all day event totaled more than $235,000. The money goes to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. The organization provides affordable health care to low income and uninsured performers, like Pete Minda.
"Well from what I hear, Austin is the only city that has something like this," said Minda.
Minda got his health insurance card two years ago.
"I've had some problems with my knee that they've helped me with and all kinds of medications and stuff I'm able to get at a greatly reduced rate, so very happy," said Minda.
There are about 2,700 musicians currently enrolled in the program.
It's estimated that the music industry, each year, generates more than $38 million in local tax revenue and provides more than 18,000 jobs.
"Yet they themselves earn very little on average about $16,000 a year so when we support our musicians through HAAM we are helping them get access to services they would have access to otherwise," said Carolyn Schwarz with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
The program requires all applicants to be working musicians or at least to have had a gig in the last 12 months. Applicants must live within a 50 mile radius of Austin and also be classified at 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or below.