Official press release:
On August 17, through Ride For Music, a team of cyclists and music industry veterans who themselves were displaced by the pandemic, will bike from Tampa, Florida to Nashville, TN over the course of six weeks to raise awareness and funds supporting touring artist employees whose livelihoods and careers were destroyed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ride For Music is a cycling organization and 501c3 nonprofit based in Florida and founded by Kevin Lilly and Kevin McCarthy.
“Ride for Music began as a response to the devastation the pandemic caused me personally, my concert venue and the entire music industry. I completely lost my concert production company, while my concert venue catapulted towards bankruptcy. I was full of anger and frustration that the music and arts industry was left to fend for itself by our government leaders with no financial aid provided. To this day, fifteen months after being forcibly closed, we still have yet to receive any relief funding while other industries received millions long ago.
I knew I had to channel that energy and frustration into something else more productive… I decided that I wanted to be a catalyst for positive change and attempt to turn something devastating in my life into something hopefully very positive for others.”
The six-week cycling tour will kick off on August 17 in Tampa, FL and end in Nashville, TN on October 1 with official tour stops being made along the way at independent American breweries and small businesses that suffered from closures associated from COVID 19.
Much like Forest Gump, Ride For Music encourages the public to ride along for lengths of the trip. The planned stops will serve as rallying points to join a ride, share a beer and enjoy performances by partner musicians. The full list of stops will be posted in the charity website www.RideForMusic.org
Ride For Music will donate 100% of the money raised directly to the audio engineers, guitar techs, stagehands and tour managers that were forgotten in the government relief funding bills. The purpose of this campaign is to show support to these essential members of the live events industry for without them, live music would not exist.
To donate, visit RideForMusic.org.
Influential bands like Anberlin have been vocal about the support for Ride For Music and the upcoming cycling tour and are encouraging other artists to support this movement. Stephen Christian, lead vocalist of Anberlin says:
“As touring musicians we count our crew as family, in the tour bus there is no hierarchy. When and where the band eats, they eat. Where we hang they hang, and when one of them hurts we hurt.
During the pandemic we were unable to tour and because of that the crew was not able to make any money off the profession they loved, we want to set them up for success and make sure they bounce back as best as they can.
With your help we could provide an income source for those who lost out, you can help ensure that they do not have to face this hardship alone. After all, we’re all on this bus together.”