2020 Annual Report
This has been the BEST!! I never knew how badly I needed queer bluegrass ‘til tonight.
— Colleen F.
Table of Contents
- Note from the Chair
- Note from the Executive Director
- Programs and Events
- Hiring Demographics
- Porch Pride
- Live with Bluegrass Pride — Monthly Showcase Series
- Fireside Pride
- Chapter Activities
- Plans and Goals for 2021
- Financial Summary
- Our Leadership
- Donors & Supporters
A Note from the Chair
It’s daunting to wake up every day in the music industry right now. It has been for almost a year. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated each and every inequality evident in our society today, leaving marginalized communities in the deep, dark shadows of economic uncertainties stretching out indefinitely. To be a music industry professional in 2020 and 2021 is to face myriad daily existential crises.
That’s why, as Bluegrass Pride looks ahead to a new year and new Board term, I feel more resolute in our mission than ever. LGBTQ+ folks are disproportionately impacted by poverty, food and housing insecurity, and by healthcare and wellness inequality — especially Black, Brown, Indigenous, and/or Asian queer folks and trans and non-binary folks. Bluegrass Pride is uniquely poised to lift up these underserved and underrepresented communities during the pandemic and beyond. I am so passionate about our goals for this year — and grateful for the enormous growth we’ve seen since COVID-19 shuttered our entire universe.
I hope that as you examine our successes and opportunities for growth over the last calendar year and our outlined plans for intentionally moving into the future, that you — our Bluegrass Pride members, followers, and fans — understand that your support of Bluegrass Pride isn’t just a vital or integral part of what we do, it IS what we do. Your support — whether you give money, time, effort, or energy — has a direct impact on the lives of LGBTQ+ musicians and creators in roots music. And we are so proud to be on this mission-minded journey with all of you,
— Justin Hiltner
Chair, Board of Directors
A Note from the Executive Director
At this time last year, our plans for Bluegrass Pride were pretty similar to previous years: we were hoping to host more shows than in 2019 and make sure our artists were paid a little bit more. We were looking into trying to launch some new in-person programs in Portland and Nashville — maybe a beginner-friendly jam here, maybe a few hosted shows there. And, of course, we were talking about what our float in SF Pride was going to look like as we marched down Market Street for our triumphant fourth year in the parade.
Things turned out a little differently. In fact, things turned out better than I ever could have imagined.
In the crucible of 2020 and all the hell it put the world through, the one thing I am most proud of is how it helped this organization to hone its vision and activate to create a better, more equitable world for roots music. We saw the great challenges that faced our community: the devastation of the music industry, the isolation of our community, the disproportionate impact that it was having on the people already most excluded from both: LGBTQ+ folks; Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian people; women; people with disabilities; and more. And we organized to do something about it.
This report tells that story. It is a chance for us to share with you what we are most proud of, but it is also a place where you can hold us accountable. Our work is not perfect. We are learning as we go. We invite you to take a stake in this moment and help us live up to your expectations for us just as much as we strive to live up to our own.
Our work is not done. As you can see in this report, we have big dreams for our fifth year of operations. We hope that you are as excited about them as we are.
— Kara Kundert
Programs and Events
Despite the odds and in the face of a global pandemic, Bluegrass Pride was able to hire over 70 musicians for paid performance opportunities in 2020. Of these, 56% were LGBTQ+ identified and 13% were trans, gender non-conforming, or nonbinary. 45% of artists identified as womxn or femme, and 17% were Black, Brown, Indigenous, or Asian. 8% of artists were over the age of 50, and at least 1% live with a disability.
In this chart, purple (13%) indicates the hired musicians who identify as trans, gender-nonconforming, and/or nonbinary, red (44%) indicates all other LGBTQ+ hired musicians, and yellow (44%) indicates anyone who does not identify as LGBTQ+.
In this chart, blue (45%) indicates the hired musicians who identify as womxn or femme, purple (1%) indicates those that identify as gender-nonconforming and/or nonbinary, and yellow (54%) indicates those that identify as male or masc.
In this chart, green (17%) indicates the hired musicians who identify Black, Brown, Indigenous, and/or Asian, and yellow (83%) indicates those that identify as white.
In total, 76% of our acts were fronted by an LGBTQ+ identified individual, and 68% were fronted by artists identified as womxn, femme, gender-nonconforming, and/or nonbinary.
In this chart, red (74%) indicates the acts fronted by musicians who identify as LGBTQ+, and yellow (26%) indicates the acts fronted by anyone who does not identify as LGBTQ+.
Womxn/Femme, Gender Nonconforming/Nonbinary
In this chart, blue (67%) indicates the acts fronted by musicians who identify as womxn, femme, gender nonconforming, and/or nonbinary, and yellow (33%) indicates the acts fronted by anyone identifies as male or masc.
All performers that we contracted with were offered a guaranteed minimum of $75 for their work, thanks in part to a grant from the Music Home Project we received at the start of 2020. Due to the profit sharing model we developed for Porch Pride, most artists were able to take home far more than that guaranteed minimum, with pays ranging from $222-825 for a digital performance of any kind (showcases included).
It is thanks to our community that we are able to provide this kind of financial support to musicians. Your donations not only gave direct payments to talented and diverse artists during one of the greatest crises that humanity has faced in generations, they also enabled Bluegrass Pride to continue hosting more and more paid events like these. Your support is invaluable to us — we literally could not do what we do without it!
Thank you so much for this event! … It means more to me than I can say. Consider the next generation of queer bluegrass artists inspired.
In the wake of a global pandemic, we found ourselves in the same position as many of the talented musicians with whom we work: facing the cancellation of an entire season of events. These included our San Francisco Pride float and marching armada, the annual Bluegrass Pride Celebration Concert (in San Francisco), our annual Portland Bluegrass Pride celebration, and the inaugural Nashville Bluegrass Pride celebration. In normal, non-global pandemic times, these celebrations help us to grow our connections and create a deeper community with supporters like you, who live our mission every day. In order to save those connections and inspire new ones, we decided to bring the spirit of Bluegrass Pride right to your front porch.
Porch Pride: A Bluegrass Pride Queer-antine Festival was a digital festival featuring more than 11 hours of live music over the course of Pride weekend, June 27-28, 2020. Our purpose was to highlight and showcase LGBTQ+ roots musicians, while also generating financial support for them as they navigate the new non-existent performance landscape, all while providing a gathering space for our community during these isolating times.
Our original goal was to pay each of our artists at least $200 for their performances in our festival. In the end, with your help, we were able to raise over $22,000 for our artists and our community — allowing us to pay our Porch Pride artists $825 each for their performances!
This success inspired us — we knew that our community was excited and energized to find ways to support talented and diverse musicians all year round, not just during parades. So in the days and weeks following Porch Pride, we reinvested our gains and started seeking out new ways to continue providing meaningful financial support to our community throughout the pandemic.
It is thanks to you and your support that we are now able to offer year-round work opportunities for LGBTQ+ musicians and allies in bluegrass, old-time, and American traditional music. With your help, we hope to do even more in 2021 and beyond!
Live with Bluegrass Pride — Monthly Showcase Series
In the fall, after the smashing success of June’s Porch Pride and our week of LGBTQ+ showcases during IBMA’s Virtual World of Bluegrass, we launched Live with Bluegrass Pride, a monthly livestream featuring music and conversation with our Bluegrass Pride family of artists. The pandemic had distilled the importance of our mission over the course of the year and by summer’s end, with COVID caseloads spiking, we decided we wanted to create work opportunities for musicians on a much more frequent basis. Live with Bluegrass Pride stepped into the gap created when we could no longer hold our beginner jams, parades, and concerts in person, giving us a place to fellowship and come together even while apart.
In the 2020 fiscal year, we hosted three of these live showcases and conversations, featuring Carolyn Kendrick, Nokosee Fields, and Lily Henley respectively. In 2021 we will continue to grow this program with both more showcases of more artists and a new variation: the beginner-friendly jam along! We have been missing our iconic beginner-friendly jams in 2020 and wanted to find new ways to connect with our picker community. We are hoping to bring you 3-4 of these interactive beginner-friendly jamming livestream sessions throughout 2021, each of which will have a theme. Up first was our Valentine’s Day love song sing-along, led by Rachel Eddy and Em Hammond!
We are so excited to continue these shows monthly in 2021, including during Porch Pride and Fireside Pride. Are you interested in appearing Live with Bluegrass Pride? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can watch all of our prior Live with Bluegrass Pride performances on our YouTube Channel!
Go to top of page.
As we headed into the cold, gray, lonely pandemic winter months of 2020, we continued our commitment to creating paid work opportunities for diverse musicians and hosted Fireside Pride, a winter- and holiday-themed celebration of Bluegrass Pride! Hosted by country drag queen Marlene Twitty-Fargo and featuring performances by Ani DiFranco & Zoe Boekbinder, Leyla McCalla, Mary Gauthier, AJ Lee & Blue Summit, Stephanie Anne Johnson, and a non-religious holiday sing-along led by Nate Lee, Fireside Pride brought all of our favorite parts of the Bluegrass Pride community together for over three and a half hours of music, community, and joy on December 5, 2020. All in all, this event raised almost $6,000 in support of the musicians on our lineup and the continued work of Bluegrass Pride in 2021 and beyond.
We hope to continue Fireside Pride in the future, keeping our audience, artists, and members engaged year round. You can watch Fireside Pride 2020 here.Go to top of page.
With the global pandemic raging, much of our chapter-specific and regional events and programs were unfortunately curtailed in 2020. We had been hoping to launch Pride celebrations in Nashville, along with new programming in Portland — all of which was scrapped in accordance with public health guidance.
However, it wasn’t a completely lost year! Here’s a short accounting of what our chapters accomplished in 2020.
In San Francisco we kicked off our 2020 season on February 19 with a show at Amado’s in the Mission! There we hosted a couple of our favorite acts, Fog Holler and Laurie Lewis & Friends. We also talked to the crowd about some of our big plans for 2020, including several upcoming shows to take place in the Bay Area, all of which were ultimately cancelled due to the pandemic.
In the fall, with IBMA's switch to make its annual business conference entirely virtual, we brought our usual Raleigh-based IBMA and NC Pride @ Night programs online in three forms:
- Making the Switch to Digital: How to Run Successful Digital Events — During the IBMA World of Bluegrass business conference, some of our leaders presented a panel discussion reviewing the ways that we and the organizations we work with have pivoted into a virtual world. From Porch Pride to Whiskey Sour Happy Hour and beyond, our leaders spoke about what works and what doesn’t, the organizational models that they used to create successful virtual events, and what elements were most important to get right in digital event planning. Attended live by over 100 conference attendees, this panel helped to highlight to the broader bluegrass community and industry that Bluegrass Pride is a leader in the field.
- Y’all Stay: The 3rd Annual Bluegrass Pride LGBTQ+ Musicians Showcase — For the third year in a row, Bluegrass Pride hosted a showcase during the week of IBMA highlighting the excellence of LGBTQ+ roots musicians. While this is normally hosted in a ballroom at the Marriott in downtown Raleigh, this year turned out a little differently. The whole showcase was broadcast set-by-set during “happy hour” during each day of the conference. Most special was our ability to highlight international acts in particular, with three of five acts coming from outside of the US. With in-person events like the IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, the costs of visas and flights can often be prohibitively expensive for international bands and musicians to attend. But with the whole event being broadcast online, we were able to work with a suite of musicians who normally wouldn’t get a chance to showcase their work at IBMA, including Ryan Marr (UK), Great Aunt (AU), Luisa Lopez (US), Mercy Bell (US), and Happy Heartaches (NO).
- Brunch with Bluegrass Pride — Ever since 2017, we’ve been hosting informational brunch sessions at IBMA to help get folks connected to the movement and inspired to bring the spirit of Bluegrass Pride home with them however they can. And this year was no different! On Saturday, October 3, we hosted a Zoom brunch session answering questions from our community and listening to what kinds of programs and initiatives you’d like to see Bluegrass Pride pursue. We left inspired and excited — so much so that we’re planning to make these “member meetings” part of our regular schedule throughout the year in 2021!
Do you have dreams of Bluegrass Pride activities and festivities in your town? Reach out to us at email@example.com so we can help you get things rolling in your area!
Thanks so much for this celebration of the diverse and amazing musicians in bluegrass! It's incredible to feel at home in the music that I love.
Plans and Goals for 2021
On January 29 and 30, 2021 the Bluegrass Pride Board of Directors met to begin our new Board term, electing three new members:
- Abby Lee Hood (they/them), Tennessee-based non-binary journalist, freelancer, music writer, and musician.
- Noa Laniakea (she/her, they/them), California-based trans femme musician, composer, and bassist.
- Scott Justus (he/him), Oregon-based non-profit professional, musician, and community builder.
The Board elected the following members to the Executive Committee for the 2021 term:
- Chair of the Board: Justin Hiltner (he/him, they/them)
- Vice Chair: McKenzie Fulkerson-Jones (they/them)
- Treasurer: Matt Lauer (he/him)
- Secretary: Scott Justus (he/him)
Additionally, in recognition of our growth as an organization and all that we do all year round, the Board voted unanimously to hire our Executive Director, Kara Kundert, as Bluegrass Pride’s first employee. As of now, her position is part-time with all hours approved by the Board.
We view our position as an employer as a key part of our mission to uplift marginalized peoples within the world of traditional American music. We are looking forward to continuing to grow and eventually bring the Executive Director on as a full-time salaried position — along with more future employees to help Bluegrass Pride to grow and to thrive and move our mission forward through music industry career training for LGBTQ+ folks as well.
The Board and leadership identified the following top-of-line goals for Bluegrass Pride in 2021:
- Anti-racism. Bluegrass Pride believes that Black liberation is queer liberation and in 2021 we want all of our programs, outreach, and activities to overtly and explicitly express this belief.
- Supporting LGBTQ+ musicians, artists, and creators. Bluegrass Pride believes that the most direct form of action we can take, especially during a pandemic that has an outsized economic impact on LGBTQ+ folks, is to create work opportunities for our community and pay our artists a fair wage. We also aim to support our community with resources such as the Rainbow Book, The Root, and Live with Bluegrass Pride.
- Growing and engaging our community year-round with our new Bluegrass Pride Membership program. Bluegrass Pride believes a key to our success in the short and long terms is a robust base of member-donors giving on a monthly basis. This community will not only help us to raise the funds necessary to create the resources and work opportunities that our artists need to thrive in the roots music industry, it will also help us to forge tighter connections with each of you. We want Bluegrass Pride to be more than a nonprofit — we want it to be a gathering space, a family, and a home for every single person who interacts with it. By creating new opportunities for volunteering and engagement with our community members year round, we hope to actualize that goal more and more in 2021.
During our half-day Annual Planning Meeting, the Board laid out several events, activities, and program proposals to achieve these goals:
- Porch Pride 2021. A month-long virtual celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride! Enjoy concerts, interactive content, conversations, and interviews over the course of June 2021. Our Porch Pride virtual festival will return, as well as a Juneteenth celebration, and other surprises in store. More information will be available soon!
- Mini-Grants & Financial Awards. Beginning this spring, Bluegrass Pride will begin awarding mini-grants to artists and creators with financial need, in order to defray costs and/or subsidize expenses such as conference passes, hotel nights, video, recording, and production fees, and so on. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement of our first major financial award later this year, as well.
- Artist & Professional Resources.
- In 2021, Bluegrass Pride will unveil the Rainbow Book, a directory of roots music venues committed to keeping their spaces as safe as possible for LGBTQ+ performers.
- To accompany the Rainbow Book, we’ll also be curating a Haven Stay Network of nearby home stays for touring bands and acts burdened by lodging costs while on the road.
- Later this year we’ll launch The Root, growing our informational video series into a full-blown education program, including a teaching directory, referral program, and lesson subsidies for LGBTQ+ and otherwise marginalized teachers and students.
- Getting you involved. With the debut of our Membership Program, Bluegrass Pride is striving to better engage our audience, members, and fans. We want you to know we see you as part of our community, active participants in all of our activities, events, and especially in our success.
- Once a quarter, we’ll invite the Bluegrass Pride community to join us for Information & Member Sessions. These sessions will be hosted by Bluegrass Pride leaders and volunteers and will feature a broad range of topics, including educational reading, programming sneak peeks, and more!
Volunteer roles and job postings are published on our website now! If you’ve been looking for a way to be more involved with Bluegrass Pride, volunteering is it. Stay posted as new roles will be added on an ongoing basis. If you don’t see a role for you, that doesn’t mean we don’t need the help! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazing, talented people sharing mind opening experiences and perspective. Feeling inspired and hopeful, thank you!
— Kathleen B.
Go to top of page.
Financial Position as of December 31, 2020:
Total assets: $27,228, an increase of $17,252 or 173% from December 31, 2019.
Total liabilities: Bluegrass Pride had no outstanding liabilities as of December 31, 2020.Go to top of page.
Statement of Financial Activity: January 1 – December 31, 2020
|Artist Pay: $28,959
|Program Expenses: $2,192
|Staff Salary: $0
|Fundraising Expenses: $3,800
|General Administration: $1,386
|Merchandise Expenses: $4,631
|Total Income: $58,220
|Total Expenses: $40,968
Our 2020 Board of Directors was: Justin Hiltner (Chair), Ted Kuster (Vice Chair), McKenzie Fulkerson-Jones (Secretary), Matt Lauer (Treasurer), Jake Blount, Brandon Godman, Patrick Seafield, Lillian Werbin, and Maddie Witler. Kara Kundert served as the Executive Director.
In late 2020, Ted Kuster and Brandon Godman — two co-founders of Bluegrass Pride — retired from the Board and were elected to become Bluegrass Pride’s first Emeritus board members, in recognition of their service and dedication to Bluegrass Pride and its founding.
In 2020, the Board hosted the following standing committees:
- Executive Committee
- Finance Committee
- Development Committee
- Events Committee
- Volunteer Committee
- Rainbow Book Committee
Bluegrass Pride also created the term-limited Style Guide Committee to help set best practices for communications and language for our organization.
In 2020, we were so excited to have non-board member volunteers join our committees for the first time. If you are interested in volunteering for any of the above committees, please contact us at email@example.com so we can get you plugged in!Go to top of page.
Donors & Supporters
Allison de Groot & Patrick M'Gonigle
Less than $150:
Less than $150:
Less than $150:
Less than $150:
International Bluegrass Music Association
Questions? Comments? Ideas? Please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.Go to top of page.