With the uncertain landscape of American healthcare today, the Nashville music community isn’t waiting on impending legislation or corporate entities to fix it.
On Tuesday (June 27) in Nashville, the Music City Music Council along with mayor Megan Barry issued a proclamation to observe Oct. 20 as Heal the Music Day.
The capital campaign encourages artists and music companies to donate 5% of their earnings for Oct. 20 to the non-profit Music Health Alliance, which provides access to life-changing medical care to members of the music community nationwide who are self-employed or are part of a small business without access to group health benefits.
Rodney Crowell was among the speakers at Tuesday’s announcement and it was on the set of his “Nashville 1972” music video on Lower Broadway when he came up with the initial idea for Heal the Music Day. He compared the concept to collecting a tithe at church.
“I was looking around thinking, ’There must be 150 to 200 musicians working down here,'” Crowell said. “Some of them do three gigs in a night. Everybody who’s working down there who have any kind of health insurance coverage has probably gone through Music Health Alliance.
“We need to do something where we consolidate our musical community and get everybody involved … if we go all the way to the top with as many arena performers as we can and all the way down to the drummer at Robert’s, it wouldn’t be of a stretch for everybody to contribute 5% of their earnings for one day.”
The impact the Music Health Alliance has made on the music community is significant. Since its launch in 2013 and with a current working staff of six people, the organization has supported 5,600 music business professionals and has saved a total of $16.5 million in healthcare costs.
“It’s up to us to make sure that no one in our industry has to choose between medicine and food,” founder Tatum Allsep said. “By committing to Heal the Music Day, I hope we can make that possible for a long, long time.”
Rory Feek and rising artist Andrea Davidson were also among the speakers at Tuesday’s event. Early contributors to the initiative include Crowell, Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice, T Bone Burnett, Rosanne Cash, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Miranda Lambert, Chris and Morgane Stapleton and Keith Urban.
Donations to the cause can be made directly by visiting the Music Health Alliance website.