Artists have been rummaging through their closets to find items to donate to MusiCares for their charity auctions. On Wednesday (Sept. 9), a MusiCares Charity Relief Auction raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity’s philanthropic work. It took place live at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills and online at juliensauctions.com.
Julien’s Auctions reports that the item that drew the largest bid ($51,200) was Bill Wyman’s custom Mesa/Boogie bass amplifier rig used during The Rolling Stones’ 1989-90 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle World Tour. The winning bid, while impressive, was less than the auction house’s original estimate of $80,000.
A fellow English artist (a couple of generations removed), Harry Styles, donated the runner-up item in terms of its winning auction bid. Styles’ cherry red Gibson Memphis ES 335 guitar, signed on the body in silver marker “[heart] Treat people with kindness Harry Styles,” sold for $28,125, more than nine times its original estimate of $3,000.
NASCAR star Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which he drove in the 2018 Daytona 500, sold for $25,600 — less than half of its original estimate of $60,000. And MusiCares won’t even see all of that: It is splitting the proceeds from the sale of the car evenly with The Petty Family Foundation.
Bono’s handwritten and signed lyrics to U2’s 2017 song “Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way” sold for $22,400 — 11 times the original estimate of $2,000. The song appeared on the band’s most recent studio album, Songs of Experience, which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1.
Several items associated with classic rock stars drew heavy bids. A Gibson SG Standard ’61 guitar in vintage cherry signed by Robert Plant and Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) sold for $19,200, nearly five times its original estimate of $4,000. Ozzy Osbourne’s stage ensemble of a black Gene Meyer New York shirt with red crystal cross and matching pants and his Oliver Peoples round silver metal glasses fetched a combined 16,460, significantly above the combined estimate of $9,000.
A Paul Reed Smith Dragon Series guitar, Series 1, signed by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, sold for $12,800, above its estimate of $10,000.
Proceeds from designated lots were split between MusiCares and the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund.
MusiCares also announced its next online auction with Julien’s, which will take place during Grammy Week next January, in the run-up to the 63rd annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 31.
This has been a busy year for MusiCares, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. By the close of MusiCares’ fiscal year on July 31, they had served upwards of 26,000 clients and provided more than $23 million in assistance, according to a MusiCares spokesman.This represents a 294 percent increase in dollars distributed and a 200 percent increase in number of clients served over the prior fiscal year. To date, the MusiCares COVID Relief effort has distributed more than $19 million to more than 19,000 music people in need.
MusiCares’ initial grant offering in what it calls Phase I of its COVID relief efforts was for up to $1,000 to compensate for canceled work and to help with basic living assistance. MusiCares has since eliminated that $1,000 cap on grants.
“Phase I funding was distributed equitably and quickly to provide immediate relief for basic needs,” a MusiCares spokesman says. “Phase II is a longer-term, tailored approach to help those who are still struggling due to the pandemic. Phase II grants vary in size and may be smaller or larger than $1,000. The grant amounts awarded are based on the demonstrated need of the applicant.”
“Due to the increasingly complex nature of the continuing pandemic, MusiCares is now tailoring relief efforts to each individual’s needs and prioritizing those who are experiencing an unforeseen personal crisis such as a physical or mental health emergency, substance abuse disorder, or threat of eviction,” said Laura Segura, MusiCares’ executive director.
MusiCares announced on April 30 that its COVID-19 Relief Fund was depleted and that it was forced to stop accepting new applications. “Unfortunately, until we can raise more money for our COVID-19 Relief Fund, we can no longer accept new applications from those seeking assistance. While our goal is always to provide support to everyone in need, we are currently bound by the funds available,” the Foundation said in a statement that day.
“The volume of [applications in Phase I] was so great that MusiCares had to make sure they had enough funds to serve those who were in the queue pending approval (around 3,000 clients) while they continued to raise money before accepting new applications,” a MusiCares spokesman said this week.
MusiCares found more funding and in June reopened the application process. “Applications have reopened and we are now in ‘Phase II’ of our ongoing COVID relief efforts,” Segura says. “The urgency remains high and the team is working relentlessly to raise additional funds to support those in the music community affected by the pandemic.”
For information on how to apply for help from MusiCares, visit the organization’s website.