Fund founded by U2's The Edge.
In a rare alliance, a wide range of artists and competing promoters are combining efforts in an online auctioning program to benefit Music Rising, the musical instrument replacement fund founded by U2's The Edge, producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson Guitar chairman Henry Juszkiewicz.
Some 60 artist will work with Ticketmaster, Live Nation, House of Blues, AEG Live and Nederlander Concerts on an online ticket auction fundraising program in support of Music Rising, a campaign to replace instruments and equipment lost by Gulf Coast musicians in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“It’s been incredible to see the way these people who are in competition with one another are getting together on this,” The Edge tells Billboard. “It really speaks very well of the industry and people’s understanding and grasp of the scale of this problem.”
The auction campaign, which begins April 1 and runs through the month, taps into the growing interest of fans in bidding online for concert tickets (Billboard, May 4). In this case, fans can bid for tickets to more than 80 concerts, including Queensryche, Nine Inch Nails, Ben Harper, Def Leppard/Journey, New Cars/Blondie, Melissa Etheridge, Brad Paisley, the Warped tour and others. The promotion is national in scope.
Fans can visit ticketmaster.com/musicrisingauctions for information about Music Rising auctions and can bid on tickets beginning April 1. Each Music Rising auction will feature four premium location tickets for venues with reserved seating and four general admission tickets for GA shows.
Most auctions will include one Epiphone guitar, provided by Gibson, autographed by one or more of the show’s performing artists. New auctions are expected to launch each Saturday throughout the month of April.
Music Rising will provide a qualified professional musician with $1,000 worth of shopping wholesale and in many cases at cost on Musiciansfriend.com. “We felt like with $1,000 at cost we could equip someone with a playable instrument that would get them back on their feet,” says Ezrin. MusiCares and Guitar Center are also founding partners in Music Rising.
"To date, 1,100 musicians have received at least $1,000 worth of stuff, whether it’s an instrument or gear that they lost, things that made it possible to go out and ply their trade,” Ezrin adds.
“We know we’re not going to be able to replace that ‘56 Les Paul that you had,” Ezrin continues. “But we can put a very good, playable, new Les Paul or a comparable instrument in your hands so you could at least begin to play again, and hopefully, in our minds, get back home.”
Additional initiatives may follow the auction. "We're not ruling out other events," the Edge says. "We've talked about various things, but we're having to take this thing one step at a time. Speed [has been] a big priority. In some ways we're making this up as we go along. The events may happen but we don't really have anything to announce at this point."