No bars, no clubs, no venues, no gigs. COVID-19 has made it nearly impossible for artists to perform or earn a living… But if you are a musician in Central Georgia, the Jazz of Association Macon (JAM) wants to give you money.
JAM has been supporting jazz music in Macon and the surrounding areas since 1986, but the group’s latest effort is aimed at providing relief for any and all musicians in Central Georgia.
“We realized that so many musicians are not able to get work. Whether it be at a club or a restaurant or an event or a church, the opportunities to perform have dried up and are almost nil,” says JAM Treasurer Tom Woodbery. “We knew that a lot of musicians rely on that– whether it’s a majority or even a good portion of their income– to make ends meet. So we said, ‘What can we do?’ We’re a small organization, but we support local musicians and live entertainment.”
The no-strings JAM initiative is called Play It Forward, and you can apply for relief here. The organization is also accepting donations and will match any contributions up to $2000 with 100% of the funds going to area musicians.
“We’re not going to dawdle and take weeks and weeks,” says Woodbery. “That’s going to be a priority. When people need help on rent or car payments or groceries, they need it now. They don’t need it six, eight weeks later.”
Private donations are already being made, but Woodbery admits that the biggest hurdle will be reaching all the artists and musicians in Central Georgia who potentially need the most assistance.
“One of our problems is that we don’t really have a good idea of musicians, jazz musicians, classical musicians, folk musicians, composers, singers, writers… We don’t really know what that number is. We kind of suspect it’s a large community of people who fall into that category.”
The JAM Play It Forward Musicians Relief fund hopes to offer relief to as many as possible.