The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley has donated $60,000 to Bay Area musicians. Much of the money, $50,000, came from one of the music hall’s donors, while the The Freight itself added an extra $10,000.
“Even as we continue to raise money for The Freight, we wanted to make sure we could support our local musicians,” said Katy Wafle, the nonprofit organization’s development director, in a news release. “The Bay Area only has a handful of funds supporting local musicians, unlike Los Angeles or New York City.”
The money was divided into 60 $1,000 grants to artists based on three categories: the artists’ connection to the music hall, cultural equity and need. The application process was a simple online form, and more than 100 applications were submitted recently within the first two days of the application process. The organization wanted to distribute the money quickly rather than drag the process out during the coronavirus pandemic, where many artists are struggling.
“I’m honored and humbled to be included in the Freight Family of Musicians,” Elvin Bishop and Motordude Zydeco drummer Willy Jordan, said in a prepared statement. “Freight & Salvage has been a huge part of my life since I came to the Bay Area many, many years ago. It’s always been my favorite venue for both playing and seeing concerts. And over the years it’s really come to feel like home.”
Like many other concert venues, the Freight & Salvage was shuttered on March 12 due to the pandemic. The Berkeley institution, which opened in 1968 and has been the Bay Area home of traditional and folk music, traditionally hosts a show seven days a week. To donate to the Freight & Salvage relief fund, visit its website. The nonprofit is also streaming past concert footage here.