Jay Sweet
Newport Folk Exec. Producer Jay Sweet, left, and CelebrityAccess President/Editor-in-Chief Marc Gentilella.

Newport Festivals Foundation Launches COVID-19 Artist Relief Program

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NEWPORT, R.I. (CelebrityAccess) — Newport Festivals Foundation announced it has established the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to musicians in the folk and jazz communities who are facing financial challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement from Festival Executive Producer Jay Sweet, aid will come in the form of both rapid micro and full grants with a focus on artists who have previously played at the Newport Jazz or Folk Festivals, and the Rhode Island community. Applications from other artists and musicians will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“Artists are at the core of the Newport Festivals community. Their performances fill us with hope, bring us together in celebration and support us during the good times and the bad. Now it’s our turn to give back. The COVID-19 crisis has proven particularly devastating for musicians whose livelihood is dependent on congregation. As a result, we’re establishing the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund. This fund will provide financial relief to musicians experiencing lost income as a result of COVID-19 through rapid micro and full grants,” Sweet said.

In addition to grants, the Foundation will continue to support music education programs through its Artist Donations Initiative, which works directly with festival artists to identify and support music education programs to participate in. Since its inception in 2018, the program has provided more than 85 grants that have supported everything from purchasing instruments for public schools, to funding music instruction workshops and after school programs for students with learning disabilities.

“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 canceling due to COVID-19. I want to be clear, this is not a fundraiser, these are funds that our Festivals 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,” Sweet added.

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