Newport Festivals Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals, has launched a musicians relief fund to help those affected by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Each year, the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals select a charity of their choice, where NFF donates on their behalf. Previously, they’ve donated to fund workshops for veterans and provide instruments for public schools, as well as various other music education programs.
However, now, some of the annual funds have been reallocated to the Musicians Relief Fund. Amid the coronavirus crisis, the NFF will provide “rapid micro and full grants” and offer financial support to those that have reached financial problems during this time. These micro grants, which are $300 or less, will be given on a “more rapid basis to cover immediate financial concerns,” while full grants will help “cover a significant portion of lost income related to COVID-19.”
“It is with utmost hope that the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz Festivals will go on this summer, but in the meantime we feel the call to do more,” Newport Folk and Jazz Festival Executive Producer Jay Sweet said in a statement. “We are in a unique position with our foundation, where we can go above and beyond and help provide support for our musicians community while other tours and festivals are cancelling due to COVID-19.
“I want to be clear, this is not a fundraiser, these are funds that our Festival Foundation already allocates to annual giving. In this dark time, we feel blessed to be able to provide some small comfort to those whose songs carry us through each day.”
Artists or groups can apply for a grant on the relief fund’s website.
As of right now, the Newport Folk Festival is slated to take place from July 31 to August 2, and feature artists like Big Thief, Randy Newman, Grace Potter, and Yola. The event will be followed by the Jazz Festival from August 7 to 9 with acts like Norah Jones, Jimmy Cliff, and Robert Glasper set to take the stage.