The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have left those in the music industry without work for an indeterminate amount of time. Recent weeks have seen independent venues form a coalition in an effort to ensure their continued existence after the pandemic subsides, and blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa has also formed his own special program to help those in need.
As his Keeping the Blues Alive website details, Joe Bonamassa’s Fueling Musicians Program is an emergency relief plan for touring musicians affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative is designed to support musicians by providing financial assistance for essential living expenses such as food, shelter, and more. Fueling Musicians provides immediate cash payments of $1,000, as well as pre-paid gas cards of $500 to help struggling musicians get back on the road again when it is safe.
Here’s a video announcement from Bonamassa further detailing the program:
After initially blowing past their expected donations from peers and colleagues in the music industry, Bonamassa expanded the stated goal for the program to $250,000 two weeks ago:
“The more money raised, the more musicians that will receive funding to help them get through these challenging times and ultimately back onto the road when the time is right,” Bonamassa says.
(On a related note, Joe Bonamassa also recently participated in our All Together Now! All-Star online concert/telethon to raise funds for those affected by the coronavirus in Los Angeles, and we are appreciative for his support!)
More insight on the Fueling Musicians program and Joe Bonamassa’s personal stake in the matter, per a press release:
Bonamassa’s desire to create this program came to him while under stay-at-home orders. Joe kept thinking of his past struggles as a touring musician trying to make it on his own, and how much more difficult the current situation is for artists whose futures are now uncertain. “Right now, the music industry has been brought to its knees,” explains Joe Bonamassa. He recognizes that to truly support these artists, necessary funding will be crucial to maintain their livelihoods during the crisis, as well as helping them get back on the road when live music events are permitted. Wanting to give back and pay it forward as so many did for him, Joe brought the Fueling Musicians Program to fruition.
Individuals or organizations interested in helping Joe support this program should go the Keeping the Blues Alive website, ktba.org or ktba.org/fueling-musicians
Artists who would like to be considered for financial aid can fill out an application via ktba.org/fueling-musicians-program-application-form/