Eddie Roberts Launches Musicians Emergency Relief Fund

Jim Mimna
Matador! Soul Sounds records at the headquarters of Color Red, which was founded by guitarist Eddie Roberts.

The New Mastersounds' April tour was canceled because of efforts to slow down the spread of coronavirus. Eddie Roberts, the group's guitarist and bandleader, who has been living in Denver, says he worries about musicians who rely on cash gigs and weekly residencies to pay the bills, and he wanted to help out.

So he set up a Musicians Emergency Relief Fund through his nonprofit The Payback, his record label Color Red, and a Brooklyn-based social-justice music group, The Sound Mind Collective.

“We thought, ‘Let’s immediately open that up for musicians to apply for and at the same time get donations from people who may not have been as affected as the music community has,’” Roberts says.

With the fund, live-music supporters can contribute directly to the financial stability of people in the music industry who have taken a hit from COVID-19 cancellations.

Applicants who are eligible will receive microgrants ranging from $100 to $500 to cover housing, food, medical care and other expenses. People can donate to the fund and musicians and industry personnel can apply for grants here.

The owners of Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom have already donated.

“This is an extremely difficult time for musicians who make their living from performing live shows,” Cervantes’ co-owner Scott Morrill said in a statement. “With so much uncertainty in how long this pandemic will last, it’s more important than ever for those that can help to chip in. Eddie has always been very thoughtful with raising money for different charities in the past and continues to help the music community with the Musicians Emergency Relief Fund.”