The Blues Foundation is not singing the blues, but working to come up with virtual events to replace its cancelled flagship events, the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was set for May 6, and the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards, which was set for May 7. Both were to be held in Memphis, where The Blues Foundation is based.
These virtual events “will celebrate BMA nominees and winners and 2020 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees,” according to a statement released by The Blues Foundation.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Blues Foundation is creating a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for Blues Musicians. They are asking those who have purchased tickets to the 2020 Blues Music Awards and/or Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony to convert those purchases to donations to this Emergency Relief Fund.
Ticket purchasers will, however, also be offered the option for a refund of their ticket purchases or to apply those purchases to next year’s events.
Event ticket holders will soon receive a form to notify The Blues Foundation of how to process their ticket purchases. The Blues Foundation will also share detailed information on when applications for the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund will be available and how to apply.
The Blues Foundation also announced that beginning immediately, and until further notice, The Blues Hall of Fame Museum will be closed to the public.
The 2020 Blues Hall of Fame inductees included singer Bettye LaVette; pianist Eddie Boyd; harmonica players Billy Branch and George “Harmonica” Smith; singer, songwriter, manager, bandleader and label owner Victoria Spivey; producer Ralph Peer; and guitarist Syl Johnson (brother of Blues Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson). The event was to be held at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum.
Top contenders at the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards included Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Sugaray Rayford, The Cash Box Kings, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Hall of Fame inductee Branch. The event was to be held at Memphis’ Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.