A listening bar and live music space in Kuala Lumpur has made a call to its supporters for donations to help stay afloat and cover overdue bills after being closed for more than a year.
fono was founded in 2017 originally as an after-hours social club and Hi-Fi listening room in Malaysia's capital. Throughout the years, the venue has evolved into one that offers artists a space for movie screenings, audiovisual and DJ live performances, creative forums, workshops and more.
Music-wise, they held open jam sessions, reggae and soul nights, music sharing sessions with DJs like Mimi, Dazed by Disco and Henry Wu also hitting their decks.
However, as an independent and versatile art space that relies heavily on live programmes, one could only imagine how hard the past year has been for fono as well as many other live spaces in Malaysia. Daily COVID-19 cases in the country are currently averaging around 20,000 per day and crossed the one million mark on July 25. Movement restrictions have been imposed in the country to varying degrees since March of 2020. With live events on hold, fono have been working on communicating with their supporters online by creating an online radio stream and online store.
fono took to their Instagram page on July 28 with a sincere message seeking help:
“Dear family and friends, we have depleted our resources and we need your help to keep the engine running. We believe our small space contributes a lot to our creative scene; as a platform for artists, music lovers, and the community to discover, experiment, and exchange ideas. We appreciate help in all forms - donations, grants, jobs, or even simply sharing this post for visibility.”
fono also explained their mission in the announcement; “We pursue our mission by relentlessly striving for curatorial excellence in our programming, and remain relevant to music lovers of all ages and it is made possible through the support of individual donors, volunteers, business supporters, corporate and foundation gifts, and funding from the local and federal government.”
Alongside the announcement, the Kuala Lumpur based listening room has launched a donation page on its website. In exchange for a contribution, each donor will get a private link to fono’s curated Spotify playlist, updated biweekly, as well as discounts to their limited edition merchandise and early access to future events.
At the time of writing this article, fono has collected US$3,674, almost halfway through their $10,000 goal. The organisers of the donation page have made as transparent as possible how they are going to use the donation money; 70% of it will go to rent and utilities, a tiny portion of the collected donations will be used to support their only full-time staff and whatever remains will be set aside for whatever the future has in store.
“We will keep doing what we do: curating, crafting, and delivering the best audio experience whenever we can. We ask that you let us know how you feel, what can be done, or simply share your fono memories. At times like these, music can connect us and provide a sense of respite when events are out of our control. We all hope music will increasingly encourage and enable a come-together despite our many points of view. That’s how we can keep this conversation going far in the future.”
To keep the live music space open, lend your help to fono by donating via their website support page here.