My name is Alexandra “ahlay” Blakely. I am the core organizer for the Wails Gathering and the holder of the creative vision for the album, Wails: Songs for Grief. This gathering, album and vision is 100% supported by crowdfunding. The Wails Gathering is but one stage of the entire project. The other major stages are:
Fundraise $11,111 via gofundme (achieved)
Fundraiser $10,000 at in person Seattle fundraiser (achieved)
The Wails Gathering (July 28-31, 2023)
Recording studio musicians (August 2023)
Album post-production + release (Sept-Winter 2024)
Birthing this whale of a project has become my full-time job. I’ve been working on Wails an average of 40-60 hours per week since September 2022, sometimes to the detriment of my health and overall well-being. In order to bring this project to life, I have needed to build in some compensation for my labor. For the sake of transparency and accountability, I have shared a summarized budget of the overall project and my financial projects for fundraising. Some of the contracts with independent artists or contractors are confidential and for that reason I have lumped those into larger sums.
Tickets for the gathering were priced based on the 220-person maximum capacity of the venue. Of those 220 tickets, 123 of them were either comped, scholarships, or purchased at low-income or community support tiers. For this gathering, the intention was to make it as accessible to as many people as possible while also meeting the financial goals to complete the album. The venue’s restrictions of only allowing 220 people to attend the gathering means that not everyone who desires to attend will be able to do so, whether that be for financial reasons or the logistics of being sold out.
Additionally, it feels important to share that I have an Accountability Team of 6 people for the Wails gathering that I have been meeting with monthly since March 2023. They are a group of peers and volunteers who have agreed to support me through some of the challenges that inevitably arise, as I plan an event at this scale for the first time in my life. They support me through mistakes I make, difficult topics and encourage me to be an accountable leader for this Gathering. The Accountability Team however, is not a place of shared decision making. It is a place where I go to seek input, feedback, and support. I take full responsibility for all decisions that are being made surrounding the gathering and album creation.
I also take very seriously the responsibility that I’m holding as an artist creating an album entirely dedicated to grief and bringing it full circle. I feel the weight, levity and joy of this endeavor, and a deep hope that this album will have a reach far beyond our communities. My deepest hope is that this album becomes yet another resource (amongst many) to support us as we navigate all that we grieve. I ask you to keep holding that eagle eye vision with me. May the future ones know they were being thought of when they hear these songs.
Thank you for your belief in and support of this project, and for seeing that this work is deeply needed in these times.
In service and with a tear of gratitude in my eye,