The fund will assist full-time McKinney-based musicians who are without work as venues close and public gatherings are canceled due to the new coronavirus, according to McKinney singer-songwriter Maylee Thomas-Fuller.
“We have a lot of full-time working musicians that are now out of work,” said Thomas-Fuller, who helped organize the fund. “Sadly, the first thing that they do when they look at that situation is they think, ‘Well, what can I grab part-time that could get me through?’ and most of them would do something in a service-oriented industry... And now all those jobs are in jeopardy.”
As part of the fund’s launch, a three-day Facebook watch party will feature four artists at 7 p.m. each night. Each musician or band will perform a few songs.
Venues and other local businesses will be highlighted during the evenings in the hopes that the event will positively affect McKinney businesses as well, said Shane Frame, a managing partner at The Guitar Sanctuary Performance Academy and a McKinney musician.
In between performances, artists will offer up items for bid, Thomas-Fuller said. One item that will be up for bid this weekend is a guitar.
The GoFundMe account for the relief fund is now live, with more than $300 donated since it opened March 31.
“We didn't really intend to get that GoFundMe site up that quick, but we went ahead and did it anyway because people were asking,” Frame said. “The Facbook page... when they launched it—immediately—it was like 300 and something likes already, just right after we launched it, and it's continuing to grow.”
Currently, the group is searching for and reaching out to musicians who are in need. In the future the process may become more streamlined, said Crystal Yates, staff musician at Christ Fellowship McKinney and a singer-songwriter.
The group believes that now is an especially good time to start a fund for musicians, but they hope that it will continue for the long-term, Thomas-Fuller said. The organization has already applied for a 501(c)(3) status, she said.
“This is just one more way that I think that we're going to find something beautiful out of this horrible situation,” Thomas-Fuller said.
The frequency of performances and the selection of artists in the future is yet to be determined, according to Thomas-Fuller and other organizers.
The group expects to evaluate and adjust for possible future concerts, Yates and Frame said, but it is very much in beginning stages.
“Our main focus right now is to get this one done and done right,” Frame said. “Then we can—No. 1—learn from it and potentially put some other things on.”
Headliners for this weekend include Andy Timmons, Crystal Yates, Jon Christopher Davis and Zane Williams. Thomas-Fuller and her husband, McKinney Mayor George Fuller, will host each night and will perform Saturday.
More information on this weekend’s lineup and the GoFundMe site can be found on the McKinney Musician Relief Fund Facebook page, where performances will be streamed.