The Newport Festivals Foundation announced that it has donated six figures toward the Musicians Relief Fund to help artists amid the ongoing pandemic.
The foundation, which hosts the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals, unveiled the fund over two weeks ago. The Relief Fund will provide rapid micro and full grants to musicians who are experiencing a lost income during this trying time, including musicians who have performed at either festival, as well as artists within the Rhode Island community. NFF created the fund by reallocating some of the funds the foundation already allocates for music education.
Grants include a one-time grant of $300 or less to cover immediate financial concerns or a full-time grant of $300 or more to cover a significant portion of lost income due to the postponement and cancellation of concerts.
Since launching the fund, NFF told Pollstar that it has “already given away low six figures.”
“A lot of the [donors] are musicians helping musicians, and audience members [giving] in small increments, or people just saying we need to do something… Yesterday we had 50 people give between $5 and 10, it doesn’t sound like much but our grants are micro-grants at the moment, it’s enough to help one band,” Executive Producer Jay Sweet told Pollstar in a statement.
Sweet went on to note that he’s proud of the organization, supports, and fans who are reaching out and helping artists in need during this time.
“This tiny, tiny festival that artists seem to love and has decided to risk our own solvency to try [and help],” Sweet said. “I mean, we just have to do it. There’s only two choices – do nothing and just pray that something happens, or you have to be proactive. If you’re really saying that you’re a community you have to be together in the good times and bad times.”
Although hundreds of festivals across the nation have either postponed their event to 2021 or outright cancelled 2020 editions, Sweet said that the organization is “crossing our fingers that our event miraculously may still happen.” The Newport Folk Festival is scheduled to run from July 31 to August 2 at Ft. Adams in Newport, Rhode Island, followed by the Newport Jazz Festival August 7 to 9.
At this time, Sweet is in communication with Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo to discuss possibility of the festivals. Additionally, the NFF is still releasing lineups for both events.
See our full, updating list of festivals cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus concerns here.