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Arts and Culture

Omicron could be tipping point for New England musicians; relief fund offers financial help

As the omicron variant is prompting some performance venues to shut down, the New England Musicians Relief Fund says it could be a tipping point for musicians who have been struggling financially throughout the pandemic. Hazel Davis is vice president of the fund.

"This fall it looked normal-ish for a lot of people. Less work, but some work. And then omicron hit, and it felt like 2020 again for musicians. Everything was getting cancelled. And tours that were rescheduled for now are put on hold again," David said.

Davis is encouraging performers to apply for direct assistance from the New England Musicians Relief Fund. It launched in 2020 due to the pandemic, raising money through individual donations and grants. Davis says the fund has so far distributed nearly half a million dollars in direct financial payments of a thousand dollars. She says roughly 30 musicians who live in Maine have received support.

"Musicians who were maybe able to get by because of relief from the government were now really struggling for the first time because their work wasn't coming back and there really was no government support," Davis said.