October 18, 2017
By: Natalie Dignam

Local musicians are often called upon to help raise funds for plenty of good causes in their community. This Saturday, a host of local musicians will perform at The Ship Pub at 8 p.m. as part of Musicians for Musicians, an event which will raise money for the NL Musicians Emergency Relief Fund.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Musicians Association (NLMA) has put together a great line-up for a cause that often goes unrecognized by those outside the community of working musicians. Rozalind MacPhail, Executive Director at AFM/CFM Local 820, said that most working musicians make enough money to live gig-to-gig. “When life comes crashing down, we have no savings to help us get through the hard times. Although there are a few other funds helping artists in Canada and the amazing Cape Fund that exists for artists here in NL, there is nothing meant specifically for our Newfoundland and Labrador musician community,” MacPhail said.

The NL Musicians Relief Fund, established in 2012, provides assistance for essentials like heating, electricity, and food for working class musicians in times of crisis. These are circumstances that MacPhail can relate to personally. “When I moved here 8 years ago to start a new life in St. John’s, I lost my waitressing job just before Christmas and had no savings to help me get through the winter months,” said MacPhail. “I was too ashamed to ask for help from my community and I spent my first winter in St. John’s with just enough heat to stop the pipes from freezing.”

The best way to support our music community here in St. John’s? Attend shows, spread the word and buy artist’s work. MacPhail shared how even small contributions can make a real difference; “I remember when I was going through those hard times, I would cry inside with a huge sense of relief every time someone offered to buy one of my CDs. It meant I could afford real groceries. Your support may mean a lot more to the musician that the public is aware of.”

The long, cold winters of Newfoundland make it especially hard for musicians in need. The fund is intended for working musicians, including performers, music teachers, recording engineers, managers and more. MacPhail stresses that applying for assistance is confidential, supportive and nonjudgement. Email cfm820@gmail.com if you are a musician in need.

Help our local musicians keep the lights on and put food on the table by heading down to The Ship on October 21st. Tickets are $15, doors open 7 p.m. Check out the event on Facebook.