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March 4, 2020

Newport Festivals Foundation Partners with Sturgill Simpson, Avett Brothers, and Katie Pruitt to donate instruments to those impacted by the Western Kentucky tornadoes

On March 18th and 19th, Newport Festivals Foundation went down to Western Kentucky to donate 10 brand new Fender guitars to individuals who lost their instruments during the December tornadoes.

The instruments were purchased with funds raised from the “Sets for Kentucky” initiative. Newport Folk artists Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, and Katie Pruitt allowed the Foundation to offer audio of their past festival sets to be streamed for a donation. Over $5,000 was raised through the initiative, allowing the Foundation to purchase 10 brand new Fender guitars and hard cases. Instrument retailer, Sweetwater, offered the instruments at a discounted rate.

The initiative was part of a larger instrument drive coordinated by Woodsongs.

“Our festival family stretches far beyond Newport,” said Executive Director, Jay Sweet. “We’ve got a lot of fans and artists that are from the area impacted by the tornadoes. So when they hit, we immediately reached out to our festival artists to ask what we could do to help out. Sturgill, Avetts, and Katie were generous enough to let us post their sets and once they went live, donations started pouring in from all over the world. It was proof that our community is about more than just a festival – we know the power of music and want to make sure everyone has access to an instrument, particularly when they’re going through hardship. That being said, we intentionally waited a few months to make sure all basic needs were met – food, water, housing, etc. But so often, the arts are overlooked when it comes to disaster relief. That’s where we come in.”

If you or someone you know lost an instrument in the tornadoes and would like to request a new one, please fill out this form.



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