A new Hip way to support The Unison Fund

Almost two weeks ago, so many of us were enthralled and a little teary eyed to see the surviving members of The Tragically Hip perform, with Feist, from the heart of Massey Hall. 

When they received the Humanitarian Award, viewers might have noticed the guys in the Hip wearing black shirts with the word “Unison” on them. 

Now you can have one of your own. 

The Tragically Hip announced Wednesday the sale of a new Unison t-shirt, all the proceeds from which will go directly to The Unison Fund, the Canadian music industry’s charitable arm. It’s been a trying and frantic year for Unison, providing counselling and emergency relief to Canadian musicians, crew members and others in the music industry as they struggle with depression, financial pressures and other challenges while the performing industry went on pause due to COVID. 

True to their nature, and in the spirit of the Humanitarian Award the band received at the JUNOs, the band’s first public offering since that night is one that helps care for others. 

“We’ve all missed live music, but for the folks who have devoted their lives to bringing music to you — the stage, sound and lighting techs, the staff of music venues and the other unsung personnel — for them this past year and a half has been devastating,” says Hip guitarist Rob Baker. “This is our chance to let them know how much we appreciate their often thankless work. What would you spend on a night out at your favourite club? What would a ticket cost to see a favourite act at your local megadome? For a fraction of that price, you can make a difference and make sure we hit the ground running. See ya at the club.” 

Earlier in the pandemic (what a weird time this is, talking about ‘earlier’ in a ‘pandemic’, good grief), the Hip donated more than $50,000 to The Unison Fund through the sale of Courage masks. Last month, the Hip were announced as early supporters of the Band Together in Unison campaign, an effort to raise $1 million to help support those financially struggling from COVID. 

Music fans are also welcome (and encouraged) to make a donation to the Unison Fund regardless of whether they’re interested in the shirt. The bottom line is, if we want musicians to come back and play, we need to support them and their crew. 

Right now, Unison has been doing incredible work on the back end to keep people on their feet but it’s not been easy. During the course of the pandemic, the Unison Fund has distributed more than $2.3 million in funds through financial assistance alone, helping more than 2,200 vulnerable music and entertainment industry workers and their families. That represents an astonishing 3,021% increase in demand and assistance applications in 2020 alone — and we’re not done yet. The Unison Fund also reports a 208% increase in crisis intervention counseling cases and a 142% increase in general counseling cases. 

The work and help provided by The Unison Fund is nothing short of miraculous and vital. Learn more about the organization here

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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