In an attempt to help achieve the return of normalcy, The Houston Music Foundation, which was created to assist Houston musicians during the shutdown providing grants to qualifying artists, has found yet another way to help out the community.
Partnering with Houston Methodist Hospital, a COVID-19 vaccination hub for the city, Bun B and Heights Theater, they will be holding a vaccine drive at the Heights Theater on Wednesday, May 5 from noon to 4 p.m. with the goal of vaccinating anywhere from 500-700 people with the Pfiser vaccine.
Appointments are available online and participants must sign up prior to the event as
DJ Sun and DJ Big Reeks will be spinning during the vaccine drive adding a fun vibe to the event and hopefully removing some of the anxiety that can come with getting vaccinated.
“We’re hoping that it catches fire and it's just a part of the next rush to getting people vaccinated so we can get back to business, that's our main number one goal here,” says Houston Music Foundation Co-Founder Mark Austin.
Austin, who is also the talent buyer at the historic Heights Theater, organized the vaccine drive with his wife and co-founder of the Houston Music Foundation, Rachel Austin.
They hope venues all across the nation can see this event as an inspiration to do the same bringing together the need of music venues to get back to work as well as helping to lower numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths through immunizations.
Combining the two may also attract the younger demographics which are not always as likely to schedule appointments through their doctors or hospitals.
Rachel had previously helped organize a vaccine event with Methodist Hospital for restaurant workers in an effort to get everyone in that industry vaccinated and back to work after suffering economic hardships for well over a year.
After seeing how smooth and successful the event was, the Austins then decided to make the same effort for the music community and beyond.
“We started thinking about the Houston music community, or any music community, it's not just the musicians and it's not just the professionals that work in the industry that are suffering, but it's also the fans,” says Mark of the decision to have this event accessible to everyone.
“We gotta make sure that everyone in this ecosystem is taken care of and ready to get back to doing what we did,” says Mark emphasizing the importance of the symbiotic relationship between musicians and fans.
Partnering with the Heights Theater was a natural choice for the Foundation and a fun way to make this event music centered, even though it is not exclusively for musicians.
“We gotta make sure that everyone in this ecosystem is taken care of and ready to get back to doing what we did."
The Heights Theater, which has been safely and successfully reopened for months now, takes COVID safety precautions seriously and runs their events in a very limited capacity and socially distanced style.
“We’ve gotten to this place where vaccines have become more readily available,” says Rachel. “So right now we are focused more on community. It's just about vaccines being available and groups of people getting vaccinated together to create bubbles and environments.”
“I think everybody was super eager to get out as soon as they qualified to get it,” explains Mark. “Now that this lull has happened, it's about reeducation and letting new opportunities exist. Maybe somebody is more comfortable coming to a smaller setting or lives closer to the Heights Theater. We are just making sure there are more opportunities for people to get the shot and get back to being a safer community and a safer city.”
“It's got lots of legs,” says Mark of the concept of this drive. “We are hopeful that it’s super successful and we get to do it again and again and this is just an afterthought.”
The Houston Music Foundation vaccine drive will take place at The Heights Theater on Wednesday, May 5 from noon to 4 p.m. and second doses will be provided on Wednesday, June 2 from noon to 4:00 p.m. Participants can sign up online in English and Spanish.