Few industries are hurting more during the COVID-19 pandemic than the live event business.
Almost anyone who made their living by bringing people together in large groups is suffering because of the pandemic-related shutdowns, and musicians are chief among them.
Sure, some who are at the top of their field are coasting by like they're on an extended vacation, but the reality for the rank-and-file musician is far more grim — a recent U.K. study found nearly two-thirds of musicians were thinking of quitting music due to losses from pandemic-related shutdowns.
Joe Bonamassa is one of the fortunate ones. He tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke that he's doing what he can to literally keep the music alive with his Fueling Musicians program through the Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation.
He says the pandemic reminded him of some of his earliest tours and the financial risks he had to take to keep his band on the road.
"It took me back 25 years ago, and musicians that are not as fortunate as I have been throughout my career are going to have to start touring again, eventually. ...So what do you do?" Bonamassa asked. "To me it's de factor tour support, so we give them a $1,000 check and a $500 gas card so the first round of hotels, a McDonald's value meal ... and the first 1,000 miles is on me. And we've raised over $300,000 just in a few months, through Volkwagen, Fender, Gibson, Reverb, Chicago Music Exchange and the generosity of the fans."
Bonamassa says they're keeping the Fueling Musicians program going to provide a second round of "Bona-stimulus packages" this fall.
He'll be supporting the program through his 'Joe Bonamassa Worldwide Pay-Per-View Concert' coming up September 20.
The live-stream concert will feature over 90 minutes of music from Joe's career, including songs from his new album, Royal Tea, available October 23.
Check out the full conversation in the video player above!
Here's the official video for "Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye":