Newport Festivals Launch Musicians Relief Fund for Artists Affected by COVID-19 Crisis

Nonprofit organization behind the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals has reallocated funds to aid struggling musicians

newport folk festival musician relief fund
Newport Folk Festival, photo by Ben Kaye

    Newport Festivals Foundation has announced the formation of a Musicians Relief Fund to aid those impacted artists by the coronavirus pandemic.

    NFF has long been about charitable giving, with ongoing initiatives that provide instruments for public schools, fund instructional workshops for Veterans, contribute to Girls Rock Summer camps, and assist other music education programs. Every year, artists playing the annual Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals each select a charity of their choice to which NFF donates on their behalf.

    Now, some of those annual funds have been reallocated to the Musicians Relief Fund. By providing “rapid micro and full grants,” the new fund will offer financial support to those artists who have seen their revenue streams affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Micro grants of $300 or less “will be given out on a more rapid basis to cover immediate financial concerns,” while full grants aim to “cover a significant portion of lost income related to COVID-19.”

    In a statement, Newport Folk and Jazz Festival Executive Producer Jay Sweet said,

    “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. 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 for those whose songs carry us through each day.”


    Guidelines limit artists or groups to one submission each. To apply for a grant, simply fill out the submission form at the relief fund’s website.

    As Sweet stated, the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals are still on track for their respective July 31st-August 2nd and August 7th-and 9th dates. The Folk Fest has already announced the likes of Big Thief, Randy Newman, Delta Spirit, Grace Potter, Drive-by Truckers, Joseph, Waxahatchee, Yola, and more are set to appear. As for the Jazz Fest, artists announced so far include Norah Jones, Jimmy Cliff, Robert Glasper (as artist in residence), Wynton Marsalis, Khruangbin, and others.

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