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U2's The Edge Launching Music Rising, Aiding Hurricane Stricken Musicians

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Following a visit to New Orleans late last week, U2's The Edge will unveil Music Rising, a campaign to raise funds to replace the lost instruments and accessories of musicians affected by the hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast region two months ago. Lead partners Gibson Guitar and Guitar Center Music Education Foundation have spearheaded the initial effort by collaborating on the design, manufacture and sale of an exclusive Gibson guitar, whichcwill be available through Guitar Center.

A very limited quantity will be produced with all proceeds benefiting Music Rising and a pledge of $1 million in support. The Gibson Music Rising guitar features hand-painted designs using the colors of Mardi Gras, and each guitar will be individually painted and handmade so no two will be alike. All of the usual plastic parts (back plate, pick guard, toggle cover, truss rod cover) have been replaced by woods from the states affected by the hurricanes, and the Music Rising logo — exclusive to this guitar — is etched into the pick guard.

The Edge visited New Orleans on November 17, between U2's current Vertigo tour dates in order to see the profound impact on the area first-hand and to spend time with local musicians, listening to their experiences and trying to understand their needs. During his stay, The Edge toured several neighborhoods and struggling venues.

"My recent visit to New Orleans gave me a first-hand look at the devastation which tragically destroyed the lives of thousands," said The Edge. "The area's rich and spirited culture must be restored and can be by assisting those musicians affected by the disaster, which in turn will bring back the essence of the regions. Providing replacement instruments through Music Rising will not only help the professional musicians to regain a foothold on their future, but will also ensure that one of the Gulf Coast's greatest assets, its music, will rise again."

Adding to the power of Music Rising, a core group of iconic entertainment industry partners join The Edge in this nationwide effort. Participating partners include Conn-Selmer, the largest US distributor of band and orchestral instruments, VH1 and MTV Networks, Ticketmaster, SpinCo (formerly Clear Channel Entertainment), and Kennedy-Marshall. These industry giants have pledged their support through both financial and media contributions and are setting the tone for support from the rest of the industry and music fans worldwide.

Music producer Bob Ezrin, who is leading the initiative with The Edge, added: "While government and business are concentrating on rebuilding the infrastructure of the region, artists and lovers of music from around the world can help to replace its heart. Once the music is playing, the people will once again have a reason to gather. We believe: if they hear it, they will come."

The application and qualification process for musicians will be handled by MusiCares, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping music people in crisis, which already has provided more than $1.5 million in direct financial assistance to more than 1,800 Gulf Coast music people. MusiCares will manage all eligibility for Music Rising grants and fulfillment of the grants will be managed by Musician's Friend, one of the country's largest online music retailers.

During the next few weeks The Edge will appear in a series of public service announcements and media interviews highlighting the efforts of Music Rising. The program organizers are calling to action every citizen and organization willing to help now and well beyond the initial launch. — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner