Emergency Relief Funds for Musicians

Last updated May 7, 2020

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With performances, festivals and tours now cancelled across the globe, many artists have lost their source of income for the foreseeable future. We’ve compiled a list of organizations providing emergency funding to artists who’ve been impacted by COVID-19. Please share these resources with artists and organizations that support artists in your community. While the historic CARES Act stimulus package includes direct relief for independent contractors, “gig economy” workers and artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses working in the creative economy, it’s just the beginning of what’s needed. Artists—who give so much to so many—are going to need additional support to get through this crisis.

If you’re in a position to lend some extra support to help artists get through these trying times, please consider donating directly to one of the organizations below or through Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief project—which will match your donation dollar-for-dollar to provide a collective $10 million of support to a growing list of partnering organizations offering emergency art relief funds to artists.

National Emergency Relief Funds for Musicians
(+ links for artists of all disciplines below)

American Federation of Musicians (AFM): Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund
The Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians provides a modest grant to temporarily or permanently disabled musicians who are members of the AFM. Members can apply here.

American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund provides support and temporary financial assistance to members in need. AGMA contracts with The Actors Fund to administer this program nationally as well as to provide comprehensive social services. Financial assistance is available for rent, utilities, mental health and medical care, as well as other basic living expenses. Grants are made case-by-case, based on need. Through March 31, due to the devastating toll COVID-19 has taken on their members, the AGMA Relief Fund will temporarily double the cap of financial assistance available to AGMA members in need. Members can apply here.

Artist + Activist Relief Fund
Created by the Soze Foundation, this fund supports artists and activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. $250-$750 grants will be awarded to selected applicants on an ongoing basis. Join the funding waitlist here or here.

Artist Relief Fund
A national consortium of arts grantmakers have come together to create a $10 million Artist Relief Fund that will distribute $5,000 no-strings-attached emergency grants to artists and creative workers who have been affected by COVID-19. Apply here for funding.

Artist Relief Project
The Artist Relief Project is collecting donations to support artists in any discipline, who’ve been directly impacted by event cancellations and venue closures due to COVID-19-related health concerns. The funds raised will offer relief to artists in the immediate short term in the form of a one-time stipend and in the long term in the form of resources for alternative, sustainable economic opportunities. Applications are currently closed, but artists can to sign up to receive updates about future funds here.

Artist Relief Tree
Anyone who is an artist can request funds from the Artist Relief Tree, which plans to fulfill every request with a flat $250 on a first-come, first-serve basis. The fund is currently not accepting new requests until it can secure additional funding, but to be informed if and when the opportunity becomes available again, click here.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund
This emergency fund can provide up to $200 for people of color who are either working artists or arts administration professionals affected by COVID-19. Artists/administrators of color currently experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 can apply for support via this application.

Bagby Foundation for Musical Arts
The Bagby Foundation offers small grants to support opera and classical music professionals, with a focus on pensioners. Reach out to Andrew Lark at 212-986-6094 for more information.

CERF+ Emergency Relief Fund
Artists who have required intensive medical care as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for emergency funding. Inquire about funding eligibility here.

Equal Sound: Corona Relief Fund
The Corona Relief Fund supports musicians who have had cancelled shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result are losing income. Applicants must provide proof they had a confirmed concert cancelled over COVID-19 to receive the money. Apply for funding here.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Emergency Grants provide urgent funding ($500-$2,500) for visual and performing artists who incur unexpected or unbudgeted expenses for projects close to completion with committed exhibition or performance dates. Apply for COVID-19 Relief Fund support here.

Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund
In alignment with their mission to make creativity sustainable, the Freelance Co-op has created a COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help support freelancers in this uncertain time. Examples of funding usage are unexpected childcare costs due to school closures, client cancellations and medical expenses due to the virus. As of March 18, the fund had $35,279 in requests and $5,299.69 raised, and is continuing to call for donations to keep up with demand. Contribute and/or apply for funding here.

Gospel Music Trust Fund
Individuals who’ve worked for 10+ years in the gospel music field (full-time) can submit a request for financial assistance to the Gospel Music Trust Fund, which grants funding in the event “of an emergency or major catastrophe, terminal or severe illness,” according to their website. Call 615-969-2781 for additional information.

Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund
The Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund provides financial assistance in time of extraordinary need, emergency or catastrophe to individuals who are or have been employed full-time in a facet of the country music industry (i.e. performer, songwriter, publisher, radio, session musician, etc.). Examples of distribution needs include medical bills, living expenses, rent or mortgage and utilities. The Opry Trust Fund accepts referrals from individuals within the country music community, including Opry members, as well as from other charitable organizations, such as MusiCares and the Performers Benefit Fund. Reach out to 1-800-SEE-OPRY for additional information.

International Bluegrass Music Association’s BlueGrass Trust Fund
Current or former bluegrass music professionals can apply here for grants of up to $500. Click here for application instructions. The association has also created a COVID-19 specific resource page

Jazz Foundation of America’s COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund
Musicians who have made a living playing blues, jazz and roots music can apply for emergency funding from the Jazz Foundation. Reach out for additional info here.

This peer-to-peer wealth distribution service is a tool for salaried workers to donate funds across a database of freelancers, service industry and gig economy workers who are impacted by COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. Click here to contribute or request funds.

Missed Tour
Artists and bands who have been displaced from touring due to the pandemic can list their merchandise on this site to help offset lost revenue, with zero charges or fees. Apply to be added to the site here.

Music Health Alliance
The Nashville-based Music Health Alliance has created a COVID-19/Tornado Relief Grant to provide emergency financial assistance to music professionals who are unable to pay their basic living expenses (health insurance/food/health care) over the next two months. Click here to apply.

Music Maker Relief Foundation
The Musical Sustenance Program offers emergency funds, monthly living stipends and assistance in obtaining social services to artists working in the Southern musical tradition, focusing on those 55 years or older with an annual income of $18,000 or less. For additional information, reach out to 919-643-2456 or 411@musicmaker.org.

Musicians Foundation
The New York-based nonprofit established a new emergency grant program in response to the pandemic, offering all eligible applicants up to $200 each. After receiving an “immense volume of applications,” the foundation placed a temporary hold on all applications on May 7. Check this page for updates.

Pillars Rapid Response Fund
Muslim artists and activists whose livelihoods are being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for $500 grants to support personal expenses. View additional info here.

Pinetop Perkins Foundation’s Assistance League
PAL provides financial assistance to elderly musicians for medical and living expenses. Preference is given to blues artists, though musicians in other genres may be eligible depending on available funds. Click here to be added to the funding waitlist.

PLUS1 Covid-19 Relief Fund
PLUS1 has launched a PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund to coordinate efforts to support those most at risk from the pandemic. PLUS1 is working with leading nonprofit organizations and several local organizations around the country to provide immediate assistance to musicians and music industry workers for medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses to those impacted due to sickness or loss of work. Learn more about the fund by contacting hello@plus1.org.

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is partnering with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to provide emergency grants of up to $5,000 to visual and media artists and choreographers to cover unexpected medical expenses. Application instructions can be found here.

Sound Royalties 
Sound Royalties has set up a $20 million fund for music creators impacted by COVID-19 to receive no-fee advances on their royalties. Learn more about applications for this temporary program, which are being accepted through May 16, 2020. 

South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund
Project grants of at least $1000 will be awarded to assist US-based arts workers of South Asian descent (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) in the performing/visual arts, film and/or literature. Apply here.

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems. Sweet Relief offers assistance to all who reach out. While financial grants may not be available to every applicant, other resources, information, counseling and financial services are additional options each artist may take advantage of. Apply for funding here.

The Blues Foundation HART Fund
The Blues Foundation Handy Artists Relief Trust Fund is available to blues musicians and their families who are in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns. Request funding by contacting Elizabeth Montgomery Brown at 901-527-2583 ext. 13 or elizabeth@blues.org.

Twenty Summers Emergency Arts Fund
Twenty Summers is launching an Emergency Arts Fund (EAF) for artists and arts organizations facing unmanageable financial loss as a result of COVID-19. EAF gives artists a chance to promote their work from home, and stimulates and connects art-lovers during a time of social isolation. Nominate an artist (including yourself) for funding here.


For an up-to-date list of organizations providing resources and frequent news updates for artists and arts organizations, visit the National Endowment for the Arts’ growing list of COVID-19 Resources.

For a comprehensive list of national, regional and local resources for musicians—including many of the emergency relief funds mentioned in this post—check out Billboard’s “State-by-State Resource Guide for Music Professionals Who Need Help During Coronavirus Crisis.”

For a robust list of legal, technical, health and financial resources for artists of all disciplines, check out COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources.



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