Charity to throw struggling musicians lifeline

Musicians Foundation set up in Hong Kong as Covid restrictions force performers out of work. Founders said they want independent musicians to thrive, not just survive

MUSIC industry advocates in Hong Kong have set up a charity to help full-time musicians hit hard by the continuing restrictions on live events in the city since the outbreak of Covid.

The Musicians Foundation was founded by event organiser Chris ‘Chris B’ Bowers, rock-music fan Sunil Khiatani with two other local music industry luminaries: Adrian Fu and Eric Tan.

The plight of musicians who relied on live events for their living was highlighted during a survey of 646 performers conducted by Chris B’s The Underground HK, which promotes the local music scene.

Seven per cent of the professional musicians who responded to the survey reported that they had become homeless or faced eviction as Covid restrictions on gatherings put them out of work.

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Musicians who had music as their full-time job represented 61.6 per cent of respondents with nearly 82 per cent having pursued such a career full time for more than five years. A quarter of those surveyed performed music as a part-time job.

“We want Hong Kong musicians to thrive, not just survive, and will support and empower them whenever they are facing difficulties making ends meet,” Chris B told local media outlet Harbour Times.

“We are dedicated to helping local musicians continue their music careers throughout times of crisis.”

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The findings led to lobbying of local officials and legislative councillors with Casper Tsui, the regional government’s Secretary for Home Affairs the most senior figure being told of the crisis facing professional musicians in Hong Kong.

Though the Musicians Foundation operates as a charity to raise funds to help meet the expenses of musicians facing financial difficulties due the ongoing restrictions on live music events, it is still waiting to be granted charitable tax status by the government.

The foundation will also help provide work for musicians, host live events and pursue sponsorship and philanthropy opportunities.

Applicants must be Hong Kong permanent residents and worked as full-time musicians for five years.

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