Bedstock 2016: Tegan and Sara Discuss Cancer-Fighting Virtual Fest, Premiere Acoustic 'Closer' Video
For the third consecutive holiday season, the on-demand, virtual music festival Bedstock will rally for hospitalized children with a full palette of performances. Panic! at the Disco, Norah Jones, Alessia Cara and Tegan and Sara are among those serenading us from their very own beds; the latter shared its Bedstock 2016 video with Billboard and chatted about this unique charitable endeavor.
“The idea is so simple, to perform from bed for those who can't leave theirs,” Sara Quin tells Billboard. Bedstock kicked off in 2014, with a genre-hopping array of artists teaming up with MyMusicRx to raise funds and awareness towards the over ten million U.S. kids fighting life-threatening illnesses. It always runs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving -- aka "Giving Tuesday" -- giving fans a great way to offset the consumption of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” and, if you're like Tegan and Sara, pay it forward. "It truly touched us to consider what it might be like for those kids to have an opportunity to see a massive number of musicians perform for their them in an intimate setting."
For a sampling of what’s in store, watch Tegan and Sara strip down their 2012 synthpop single “Closer” for an acoustic jam inside the bunks of their tour bus.
Below, find Sara Quin chatting with Billboard via e-mail about Bedstock 2016.
What inspired you to work with Bedstock, MyMusicRx, and the Children’s Cancer Association? Was anyone in your life affected by the diseases they fight?
The idea is so simple, to perform from bed for those who can't leave theirs. It truly touched us to consider what it might be like for those kids to have an opportunity to see a massive number of musicians perform for their them in an intimate setting! I’ve never had anyone in my family battle disease at a young age, but I have certainly seen the healing and calming effect that music can have on someone who is unwell. Even for those who gather to support the patient, there can be a positive impact when music is being performed or played in the environment.
You have such a devoted fan base and you’ve been interacting with it for so long… Is there an experience with a fan that sticks out -- maybe a recent one -- that made you think, “Wow, I can really help heal people with my music?”
My own experience has been that people who are facing tremendous difficulty with their physical or mental health still find comfort and distraction from music. We have met so many people over the years who use music or the concert experience to have fun, destress or detach for a few hours from the adversity they're facing.
Has the band (or you personally) been involved with charities or similar organizations in the past?
We have always felt a strong sense of responsibility to ensure that our band uses its public profile and platform to support and work in solidarity with many different charities and foundations doing social justice work. The majority of our focus is LGBTQ rights but we do try and lend support wherever and whenever we can!
If an up-and-coming artist asked you for the best way to stay in touch with and help fans as you get more popular, what advice would you give?
I think in all walks of life its important to listen. There is so much information being thrown at us on social media that it can be easy to have knee jerk reactions and make assumptions or defend ourselves before we've really heard what people are saying. Our fans have informed so much of what we dedicate ourselves to over the last ten years. Their inequities aren't always the ones that we experience, but we see an opportunity to provide support, increase visibility and help mobilize to create real change just by listening to them!
What do you have planned for your Bedstock performance? What Tegan and Sara songs do you think work best for Bedstock performances?
We have been on tour for the last six months, so we thought it would be accurate to perform from the bed that we spend most of our life in! We chose Tegan's bunk on our tour bus as she has better bedding than I do! We performed our song “Closer" because it translates very well as an acoustic song.
What else do you have planned for the holidays season?
We are going to be back in Vancouver with our family to celebrate the season and to recharge for 2017!
Head on over to Bedstock’s official site to catch all the videos and donate to the cause. For over 20 years, MyMusicRx -- the foundation that makes Bedstock happen -- has helped bring “music medicine” to hospitalized children, both through in-person hospital visits and via 24/7 virtual access to MyMusicRx.org. It is the flagship program the Children’s Cancer Association, founded back in 1995. For more information on how it all got started, check out Billboard’s 2015 Bedstock feature.