NEO Music Relief Fund created by Cleveland Rocks: Past, Present and Future has distributed $23,200 to 56 local musicians and venue workers in need. The nonprofit has received donations and sponsorships of nearly $31,000 to provide immediate Covid-19 emergency relief in the amount of up to $500 grants to those who lost income through cancellations and closures of events.
Workers at Cleveland’s concert clubs and the musicians who play those stages were among the first hit in the wave of coronavirus closures that have continued since Gov. Mike DeWine’s first pandemic orders arrived in early March. To help alleviate at least some of the financial blowback, a group recently created the NEO Music Relief Fund, which is aiming to collect about $10,000 to distribute in $500 chunks to those in need.
What does the era of social distancing mean for the music industry? What does all this isolation mean for venues across the region, their staff, and the crew? We also hear from area musicians. How are they adapting to this new reality?
Many people are out of work right now and Northeast Ohio artists are among them. As shutdowns and layoffs continue, several local emergency arts funds are in the works. One of the first area efforts to get relief money into the hands of artists came in the wake of the first shutdowns. Cleveland Orchestra bassist Henry Peyrebrune saw the need for a quick response.
With the recent openings of Pop Life and Six Shooter Coffee’s new location, Waterloo Road seems to be hitting a high note lately—and Beachland Ballroom owner Cindy Barber has big plans to keep it rocking and rolling.
Believe it or not, Cleveland’s music scene ranks with the best in the country. Four years ago, the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) and Cleveland State University released a study called Remix Cleveland that documented research showing the economic impact of music in northeast Ohio. Local companies such as Gotta Groove Records, which presses vinyl discs and has become a key provider for the vinyl resurgence on an international level and recording studios like the Lava Room and SUMA make a major impact.
Last year, the Cleveland music scene lost a couple of its most historically significant players: Steve Popovich, founder of Cleveland International Records and all-around Cleveland music cheerleader, and former Plain Dealer rock reporter Jane Scott. Popovich had been a constant presence at the Beachland Ballroom, and his sudden and unexpected passing started Beachland owner Cindy Barber thinking about how to preserve the legacy of Cleveland’s musical past — and to fuel its present and future.
Legendary music impresario Steve Popovich of Cleveland International Records passed away last year before anyone had a chance to document his role, his perspectives and his stories. Beachland Ballroom owner Cindy Barber and other Cleveland music scene veterans don’t want that to happen again.