Press Release 4-27-20

The Freight & Salvage gives $60,000 to Bay Area musicians during pandemic crisis

Berkeley cultural institution gives aid to 60 local musicians in a time of dire need for independent artists thanks to a generous donor


(April 27, 2020 Berkeley, CA) Freight & Salvage, the West Coast Home of traditional music since 1968, has distributed 60 grants of $1,000 to individual Bay Area musicians to assist during the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Normally the cultural institution presents concerts seven nights a week from its state-of-the-art, 450-seat listening room in downtown Berkeley; however the venue has been closed since March 12, 2020 due to the pandemic.

“As word spread that we would be closing our venue temporarily, one of our donors offered to make a $50,000 contribution for us to support our local community of musicians,” says Sharon Dolan, Executive Director. “The cancelation of live performances and that impact on musicians was immediate and we wanted this relief to be immediate, so we chose to offer $1,000 emergency grants that could be disbursed quickly.” The Freight created a simple online form and reached out to local musicians. Within 48 hours, over 100 musicians applied. Applications were selected on three criteria: relationship to the Freight & Salvage, cultural equity, and need. The Freight added $10,000 to the fund so that 60 of the emergency grants could be distributed.

“Even as we continue to raise money for The Freight, we wanted to make sure we could support our local musicians,” said Katy Wafle, Director of Development. “The Bay Area only has a handful of funds supporting local musicians, unlike Los Angeles or New York City.” Musicians who received the grants have been grateful. “I’m honored and humbled to be included in the Freight Family of Musicians,” said Willy Jordan, drummer for Elvin Bishop and Motordude Zydeco. “Freight and Salvage has been a huge part of my life since I came to the Bay Area many, many years ago. It’s always been my favorite venue for both playing and seeing concerts.  And over the years it’s really come to feel like home.”


About the Freight & Salvage

The Freight & Salvage (Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music) is a nonprofit community arts organization dedicated to promoting public awareness and understanding of traditional music—music that is rooted in and expressive of the great variety of regional, ethnic, and social cultures of peoples throughout the world. The Freight presents 340+ shows a year from its home in Downtown Berkeley, reaching nearly 100,000 music lovers annually. In addition, The Freight has reached thousands through classes, workshops, jams and music education for kids.

Interview available by request.
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Freight & Salvage "Freight Fest" 2018 - photo by Dave Weiland

Photo by Dave Weiland