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State organization starts fund to help musicians impacted by coronavirus

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Some relief for Michigan musicians impacted by novel coronavirus cancellations may be coming from the west part of the state.

The Michigan Music Alliance, based in Grand Haven, has begun crowd-sourced fundraising for the Michigan Music Fund in order to help state performers who have been left without work in the wake of the crisis. The state's ban on events of more than 250 people, combined with Monday's, March 16, closure of bars and restaurants and the federal Center for Disease Control's recommendation to limit gatherings to 50 or fewer has effectively eliminated opportunities to play and left artists without reliable sources of income.

"Live music is thankfully a sustainable career in Michigan normally. That's nto the case now," says MMA executive director Elle Pellegrom, whose booking agency represents 20 artists. "Things went from bad to worse in a very short amount of time, and people are completely freaking out about how they're going to pay rent, make their car payment, feed their kids.

"We're trying to figure out how to connect with people and build a buffer so the impact will be less severe."

The Michigan Music Fund, modeled after initiatives in Boston and Nashville, is currently open for private donations via GoFundMe.Com. The MMA is also seeking corporate donations and sponsorships. Starting Friday, March 20, artists will able to apply for grants via michiganmusicalliance.org. Performers must be from Michigan, receive their primary income from music have at least one show canceled due to coronavirus; They'll be able to receive up to $500 and will also be permitted to apply for additional grants.

The applications will be approved by the MMA board of directors.

"Our hope is we'll be able to help as many people as possible," Pellegrom says. "What's going on is unprecedented. Hopefully we can make a dent."

Additional reporting by Stacey Sherman

Web Site: www.michiganmusicalliance.org

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