#UnpluggedTogether | Virtual Fundraiser Event Series (2021)

NGO fundraising in pandemic times

The international NGO Make Music Matter, working in 8 countries with its innovative music therapy program Healing in Harmony, is constantly, like many other NGOs, looking to raise funds for its crucially important humanitarian work.

Given the many restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed a brand new format. Being Executive Producer developing and leading this project, with a great team of volunteers and staff at Make Music Matter including world-famous and Grammy award-winning talent, we put together an online one-of-a-kind event series in order to raise funds and to put mental health on the agenda.

Getting #UnpluggedTogether with world-class talent

Introducing #UnpluggedTogether – an exclusive online event series featuring world-class artists, candid interviews, and live Q&A sessions to help fuel conversations on mental health and the healing power of music – with 100% of funds raised directly to support Healing in Harmony – Make Music Matter’s innovative music therapy program for trauma survivors.

With support from award-winning artists and talent, we built an original production in 4 episodes to be broadcast alongside live Q&A sessions during the fall of 2021.

Hosted by legendary broadcaster Alan Cross, and produced by three-time Grammy Award-winner David Bottrill, the streamed show is a run of unique special unplugged performances, candid interviews, and live interactive Q&A sessions.

#UnpluggedTogether Season 1 Recap
Alan Cross (moderator), David Bottrill (Producer)
Heine Nielsen (Executive Producer)
Videographer: Blake Bottrill

#UnpluggedTogether featured special performances by Grammy and JUNO award-winning artists like The Trews, The Standstills, Neil Sanderson (Three Days Grace), Cone McCaslin (Sum 41), Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent), Blackbird, Grievous Angels, with special appearances by Corey Hart, Gord Sinclair (The Tragically Hip), Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk) and Jimmy Bowskill (The Sheepdogs) – including live Q&As – all in four separate episodes.

(Artwork by: Marc Leardi, NULL & VøID Design, Toronto, ON, Canada)

I’m very excited by our new series of studio performances. With this project, we’re building community and bringing together leaders in different areas of the music industry who are dedicated to making a difference. It’s also a unique opportunity for fans to get up close and personal, even if virtually, with the artists who support Make Music Matter’s mission.

David Bottrill (Make Music Matter Board Chair & multi Grammy award-winning music producer (Peter Gabriel, Tool, Muse))

Special production – made in Toronto

With sponsors like the iconic Revolution Recording and Union Sound studios in Toronto, Ontario, we shot content for four episodes of unique exclusive intimate performances and combinations of artists at the top of the Canadian music industry. Furthermore, a lineup of local and national sponsors (in-kind, cash, promotional) was built in order to execute successfully.

#UnpluggedTogether Cone McCaslin (Sum 41), Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent), Blackbird
Trailer Video
Credit: Blake Bottrill
#UnpluggedTogether The Standstills Trailer
Video Credit: Blake Bottrill

Going Live…

With the first broadcast on August 5, 2021, featuring Canadian acts The Standstills and Neil Sanderson (Three Days Grace), attendees were tuning in on Vimeo Live for an online event experience – with pre-recorded intimate exclusive concerts following a live Q&A.

Tickets were sold for $15 and donations were collected pre, during and post the broadcasts.

#UnpluggedTogether was hosted by legendary broadcaster Alan Cross – an internationally celebrated Canadian radio broadcaster and music journalist. He is best known as host of the syndicated radio series The Ongoing History of New Music and The Secret History of Rock. Cross also maintains his personal music blog, A Journal of Musical Things, and you can normally catch him on the airwaves on the Edge 102.1 Toronto.

The series’ lineup included JUNO and Grammy award winning artists willing to support our mission at Make Music Matter – with special performances by Canadian artists from The Trews, Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, Sum 41, and many more…

The majority of viewers were from Toronto, Canada and North America in general, but also fans from Europe were following along and donating to this event series fundraiser.

In order to nudge attendees to donate during the shows, the four #UnpluggedTogether episodes featured special shoutouts from other supporting artists like Hill Kourkoutis, Chris Jericho, Julian Taylor, and from Make Music Matter supporters in the field Justin Cikuru and Tatiana Mukanire in DR Congo, Africa.

Shoutout for #UnpluggedTogether by Make Music Matter Lead Therapist in DR Congo, Justin Cikuru

Media coverage for #UnpluggedTogether


#UnpluggedTogether Crew: Host: Alan Cross / Producer and Mixer: David Bottrill / MMM Founder and CEO: Darcy Ataman / Executive Producer: Heine Nielsen Kofoed / Online Event Producer: Steven Yau / Videographer: Blake Bottrill / Graphic Design: Marc Leardi / Communications Manager: Rebecca Purver / Marketing Assistant: Noa Salamon / Social Media Assistant: Claire Leslie-Turnbull / Translator: Joe Saghbini

#UnpluggedTogether Sponsors: Gold: Canadian Musician Magazine / Canadian Music Week / Alan Cross / A Journal of Musical Things / Revolution Recording / Union Sound Company / Mainstation Music / YSL Pro / Bandzoogle / Grant Thornton / Sonic Boom / Null & Void / Kinspira / BLKWTR / A4A Music / Silver: Long & McQuade / Mike Ormsby / Studio Jiimaan / Roland Canada / Media: The Edge 102.1 / Promotional: CIMA (Canadian Independent Music Association) / SOCAN / Breakout West / IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards)