While the Blues Foundation will not hold its flagship events this May due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, the foundation will hold virtual editions of the shows.
The foundation was slated to hold the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony on May 6, followed by the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards on May 7. Both events were set to take place in Memphis, Tennessee, however, the events have been cut while the CDC recommends the limitation of crowds and large group gatherings to help prevent further spread of the virus.
To keep the spirit alive, the foundation announced it will hold virtual events, which “will celebrate BMA nominees and winners and 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees.”
While ticketholders can receive refunds, or apply this year’s ticket to next year’s event, the foundation has offered the option to donate tickets to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for Blues Musicians. The fund will benefit musicians who are currently suffering from the backlash from the virus – which includes cancelled gigs and appearances.
This year, Blues artists like singer Bettye LaVette, pianist Eddie Boyd, harmonica player Billy Branch and George Smith, singer Victoria Spivey, producer Ralph Peer, and guitarist Syl Johnson were set to be inducted into the 2020 Blues Hall of Fame at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum. A handful of artists were also set to appear as contenders at the music awards, including Rick Estrin & the Nightcats and The Cash Box Kings.
The foundation will announce when the live streams will take place in the coming weeks. Donate to the Blues Musicians Emergency Relief Fund here and visit the organization’s website for more information.