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At the Electric Fetus garage sale, a way to help musicians facing health crises

The Electric Fetus in Minneapolis will be holding its annual garage sale event this weekend.

On Saturday, there will be big discounts and clearance items to sort through and buy, plus live music (The Lioness, Monica LaPlante and Dash Hounds), Glam Doll donuts, Red Bull and more. Then on Sunday, it’s 50 percent off all the garage sale items. All weekend, it’s 15 percent off most regularly priced items. (Check out the details here.)

However, it’s also a chance to help out musicians who are facing a health crisis.

The record shop is partnering with Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that raises money for “all types of career musicians and music industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.”

At the Electric Fetus garage sale Saturday you’ll be able to round up your purchase, with that donation then going to Sweet Relief. The organization will also be on site to give out more information, accept other donations, and give away some prizes.

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund said on Facebook it’s “thrilled” to have been picked for the garage sale this year.

Musicians and health care

Health care for musicians – especially those who have never hit it big, or had some success years ago only to taper off – is a huge issue. As the Washington Post explained in this story, streaming music doesn’t pay nearly as much as royalties from album sales did. Which leaves touring and merch sales as a main source of income, but that’s unreliable. And if you’re sick, touring isn’t necessarily easy.

Meanwhile, they get older and medical costs continue to add up, the Post wrote.

Even in a city like Austin, Texas, which says commercial music adds $1.6 billion to the local economy every year, musicians have trouble making ends meet. As NPR reported, one survey found one-fifth of the city’s musicians live below the poverty line. About that same amount don’t have health insurance.

That’s where groups such as Sweet Relief Musicians Fund step in. The group says the average income is less than $25,000 a year, and more than 65 percent of professional musicians don’t have health insurance.

“While the financial hardship a musicians faces when dealing with illness or disability may be a constant, we now face a burgeoning elder population of artists with little or no resources available for such emergency situations,” the group says.

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