Rex Caravan art featuring bus and happy people

In the Time of COVID-19, Rex Is Stepping Up for Musicians and Others


Just when we’d all normally be planning a whole lot of summertime music, gatherings, and musical gatherings, along comes COVID-19, and here we are sheltering in place for what promises to be a while yet.

For fans, this is pretty sad, as the party is not being taken where they need it the most. But for all the people who make it happen–the musicians, the production folks, the hospitality folks, etc.–it’s a catastrophic blow in what’s a stressful line of work in the best of times.

Last week Rex Board Member Rosalie Howarth reunited with her KFOG pals Renee and Irish Greg on their pop-up program, Zoom edition, during which she explained that Rex would be focusing its 2020 funding on groups helping music industry people hard hit by the virus and its economic repercussions.

With “the entire music industry out of work,” as Rosalie puts it,  “we are partnering with three organizations to support both musicians and crew affected by the crisis.

Sweet Relief is a well-respected group that supports health care and health insurance for musicians, who often don’t have medical plans.

Backline is a grassroots group that focuses on the health and especially the mental health of musicians and support crew on tour (since we all know “The Road kills”).   Not being able to tour and earn money is a huge strain on  the mental health of music industry professionals, many of whom have no insurance.”

Backline co-founder Tory Pittarelli explains, “Backline connects music industry professionals and their families with mental health and wellness resources–streamlining access to a network of trusted organizations and care providers that understand this line of work. In response to the increasing anxiety surrounding coronavirus, Backline is spearheading the ‘Come Together: COVID-19 Crisis’ initiative, which includes bi-weekly support groups, meditation, breathwork, and yoga sessions in partnership with like-minded organizations. There has never been a more meaningful time to champion the prioritization of mental health!”

Rosalie adds, “And Little Kids Rock, to whom we gave a grant when they were just starting out, is employing musicians to give free music lessons to kids and adults online. Use this downtime to learn how to play and sing!”

Much of the podcast was devoted to the real-life problems artists and others face in these unusual times, and we’re grateful to Renee and Irish Greg for supporting the effort by donating $250 from their Patreon proceeds to Rex!