Alone Together, a free virtual electronic music festival taking place this weekend, Aug. 22-23, in support of mental health awareness.
The event is sponsored by dating app Bumble and realized with the help of mental health charities Active Minds, The Black Mental Health Alliance, and To Write Love On Her Arms.
The festival's founder Shrenil Shaun Sharma and Brennan Adams came up with the idea to incorporate a mental health speaker series called the Positive Vibes Speaker Series, where artists will answer questions curated by the charity partners that open a conversation about how they use their music to tackle personal struggles with mental health.
By having artists open up about their own experiences on the topic, the organizers hope others will realize that struggling with mental health is acceptable and normal, especially given the times.
The Alone Together festival will be hosted by Norwegian DJ and producer Matoma, who commented on his Facebook page: "Mental health is a topic that many people avoid talking about, but it is so important to be aware of our own mental health and others around us. So many of us go through our days so fast, without actually taking the time to check in on ourselves and ask how we really feel.
"Especially with everything going on and all the uncertainty in the world right now, it is extremely important to focus in, and practice self love and check in on those around you."
Aside from Matoma, who'll be playing a set too, the lineup features ShipWrek, Two Friends, ARMNHMR, Nurko, JVNA, Tritonal and many more.
Pollstar reached out to Nurko, who released his new single "Better Off Lonely" today and will be speaking as part of the aforementioned Positive Vibes Speaker Series.
He said maintaining a healthy mind was one of his reasons for making music: "I’m playing this festival because dance music and mental health are intertwined. I believe music plays a major role in mental health and it's a huge reason why I create music. I hope that it helps people with whatever they are going through."
Nurko explained, "After college, I actually worked in a behavioral hospital as a mental health clinician before music took off, and one of the groups would always be music therapy. It really seemed to help people in a positive way. This is quite a difficult time, but music can be used as an escape from it all. Music brings us together."
The worldwide lockdown, the employment bans, the restrictions on public life as well as the imposed distancing rules, coupled with the general fear surrounding Covid, are a combination that's detrimental to any human beings mental constitution.
As Katja Mierke, psychologist teaching at Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany, explained in conversation with Pollstar: “Human beings are very flexible when it comes to adjusting to new environments, we sometimes get used to new circumstances alarmingly fast. However, the so-called ‘new normal’ is such a burdensome and exceptional state, it’s clear that it has to be temporary.
"For many, the uncertainty surrounding the duration of this situation, when restrictions will be lifted, and how life will continue once it’s over, is the worst. The capacity to suffer requires hope and perspective."