Newport Festivals Foundation creates Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund

Matthew Shelter for Vanyaland

It remains uncertain if there will be a Newport Folk Festival this summer, but the organization is making sure it continues to help out artists in need during the ongoing pandemic. On Monday morning (March 30), the Newport Festivals Foundation, which also includes the Newport Jazz Festival, established the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund, which aims “to provide financial relief to musicians in our Folk & Jazz communities experiencing lost income as a result of COVID-19 through rapid micro and full grants.”

The prioritized focus, according to Newport Festivals Foundation, will be the artists who have previously performed at either Newport Jazz or Newport Folk festivals, as well as those in the Rhode Island community. Applications outside of those parameters will be considered “on a case by case basis,” says the foundation.

“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,” says festival executive producer Jay Sweet. “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 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.”

Hit the newportfestivals.org website for the application portal, and revisit our coverage of the 2019 Newport Folk Festival below, photographed by Matthew Shelter.