Joe Bonamassa's non-profit Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation (KTBA) is providing financial support to qualifying touring musicians who are suffering financial hardship and whose careers have been put on hold as a result of COVID-19 effect on the music industry. Fueling Musicians is an emergency relief program designed to support musicians by providing immediate cash payments for essential living expenses of $1,000, as well as pre-paid gas cards of $500 to help them stay afloat and get back on the road again when it is safe.
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 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 like so many did for him, Joe brought the Fueling Musicians program to fruition.
To kick off this fundraising initiative, KTBA and Joe are funding $25,000 to be immediately available for touring musicians in need. Initial funding will be generated from several sources, including the sale of Joe Bonamassa's prototype JB signature amp, used on tour and specially selected from his personal and renowned collection. To increase the initial backing, KTBA is actively organizing plans to support this program through multiple fundraising platforms, with all proceeds going directly to Fueling Musicians. For his birthday May 8, Joe will have a week-long fundraiser on Facebook to help raise additional funds. Currently in development, he will also host a special stream-a-thon event which will feature exclusive performances and is slated to take place sometime in May.
"We are in a critical time in the music business and I want to see as many bands and artists survive and flourish going forward when they are given the green light to tour again," expresses Joe. For the last seven years, Joe has hosted his popular and sold-out Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea music festival, bringing together both living legends and emerging talent alike. Through this event, he has invested his resources into helping promote the 100+ skilled musicians and their careers, and taken it upon himself to not only curate the performances, but also mentor young musicians who now look to him for guidance in both music and the industry. He looks forward to extending his contributions to the blues community and artists overall through this new initiative.
Individuals or organizations interested in helping Joe support this program should go the Keeping The Blues Alive web site, ktba.org or ktba.org/fueling-musicians.
Artists who would like to be considered for financial aid can fill out an application via this location.