On November 4, 2020

#HEARVT promotes local music across the state

Kat Wright films a public service message for #HEARVT. Photo by Luke Awtry Photography.

Big Heavy World launched the #HEARVT campaign on Nov. 1 to support local music and Vermont’s independent musicians. Through #HEARVT, the state’s volunteer-run music office is coordinating with record shops, artists, Higher Ground, Hotel Vermont, the Vermont Association of Broadcasters, the Vermont Creative Network, and Calamity & Crowe’s Trading Post to offer several incentives for Vermonters to buy local music in November, proclaimed by Governor Scott to be Local Music Month. Vermonters can find information at HearVermont.org.

Original local music is a big part of the state’s economy, bringing people to venues and stores across the state and helping give Vermont an identity that’s strongly identified with creativity. Vermont is a special place to live or visit because of the quality and diversity of its original live and recorded music. The Covid-19 pandemic reminds us that here at home we have an arts community that upholds our spirits and brings us together in all the ways that are possible.

Almost ten independent record stores in the state will be giving away gift certificates of varying values to customers who visit them during November. The certificates will be good toward purchases of local music. These stores are participating and helping share word of #HEARVT: Exile On Main Street in Barre; Turn It Up! in Brattleboro; Burlington Records, Pure Pop Records, and Speaking Volumes in Burlington; Autumn Records in Winooski; Buch Spieler Records in Montpelier; and the Howlin’ Mouse in Rutland.

Anyone who buys local music or merchandise (like a band t-shirt) at a shop or from Vermont bands online during November can post about it on social media with the hashtag #HEARVT for a chance to win one of five Golden Ticket packages that combine a $100 gift certificate to Higher Ground with a night’s lodging at Hotel Vermont. Higher Ground is an all-ages independent live music and comedy venue located in South Burlington. Hotel Vermont is located in Burlington and was named by Thrillist as the best boutique hotel in the state.

The bands that are mentioned on social media with the #HEARVT hashtag — bands whose music and merch is purchased — are in the running for a drawing that could bring them $400 worth of screenprinting at Calamity & Crowe’s Trading Post in Fletcher, known also for their custom tie-dyeing. Everyone is welcome to promote local music!

Vermont-based artists have become spokespersons for #HEARVT, with Robot Dog Studio producing video and audio public service announcements with them at Big Heavy World’s headquarters in Burlington. These broadcast-quality messages are available for fans of local music to share on social media, and for TV and radio stations across Vermont to download from hearvermont.org and share with their broadcast audiences. Messages were recorded by Dwight & Nicole; Rough Francis; The Path; Kat Wright; and Hayley Jane. The Vermont Association of Broadcasters is sharing this outreach campaign with its member media outlets as a #HEARVT partner. Wendy Mays, VAB Executive Director, said, “Vermont’s businesses, including our broadcast industry, are agile and responsive in the face of a challenge like the covid pandemic. It’s natural to work together to pull Vermont’s economy through to the other side.”

#HEARVT is made possible with a $10,000 Restart Vermont Marketing and Incentive Grant from the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development. This is a regional marketing and consumer stimulus grant meant to encourage local spending, with implementation strategies proposed by local entities. During a May press conference to announce a suite of Restart Vermont programs, Agency of Commerce Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said, “These ideas are the result of talking to many local employers over the last two months to identify what they need now, and what they will need on the other side of this. What we heard in those conversations was that there are gaps in federal programs and these initiatives announced today work to address those gaps for our most vulnerable sectors. We know this recovery will be long and that steps announced today will not solve every problem we face, but they will help businesses return to operation, work towards new innovative business practices, and engage all Vermonters in supporting their local communities.” All #HEARVT grant funds travel back into Vermont’s economy.

James Lockridge, executive director of Big Heavy World, said, “Vermont’s Agency of Commerce lights a fire in our hearts by supporting Vermont’s music economy, and it’s inspiring to collaborate with industries from all corners of the sector. Music in Vermont lifts us all.” For more information, visit hearvermont.org.

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