Ever the civic-minded group, The Tragically Hip wanted to keep fans safe during these crazy times and started selling a black fabric face mask with the word “Courage” on the front.
These masks were sold on the Hip’s online store last summer and fall and are still available. Some masks were also available at various outdoor events, including a showing of the final Hip concert movie in a drive-in setting at Western New York’s Artpark, near the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, in August.
The masks have been a fundraiser for the Unison Benevolent Fund, a charity to help provide counseling and emergency relief services to Canadian musicians, and the tally so far is music to anyone’s ears: More than $40,000 has been raised for the fund, it was announced Wednesday.
“We want to thank all of you who have bought the Courage masks to support the Unison Benevolent Fund,” the band says. “With your help, we have raised over $40,000 so far to provide ongoing emergency financial relief for musicians and crew members during the COVID pandemic. Until we are through this, please continue to follow the guidance of public health officials. Stay safe, wear a mask and continue to support the Unison Benevolent Fund.”
“Unison is eternally grateful for the ongoing support of all donors,” the Fund says. “No donation is too small; any amount will be greatly appreciated and will go a long way towards helping Unison care for the Canadian music community during this difficult and rapidly changing situation.”
When the mask fundraiser sale was announced in August, Unison said it had received a more than 5,500% increase in applications from the music community, asking for assistance as the industry took major cuts without concerts, performances, sessions, lessons, merchandise sales and other staples of income. By November, more than $1.2 million in funds had already been allocated and provided support to more than 2,200 entertainment professionals in Canada, but the need continues and the requests for help will continue to roll in as the world struggles through the pandemic.
More information on the Unison Benevolent Fund can be found here.