Dozens of guitars, mandolins and other instruments - straight from the hands of artists such as Peter Frampton, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Vince Gill and a host of others - are headed for the online auction block through nonprofit organization NASH2O (Nash-2-0), with one-third of the proceeds to benefit Middle Tennessee fire and rescue departments. MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund for music industry professionals and the Nashville Musicians Association Flood Relief Fund for those musicians that were uninsured will also benefit from the auction.
NASH2O was organized shortly after the devastating May floodwaters receded by three longtime Music City mainstays: George Gruhn, widely-recognized as the leading authority on vintage stringed instruments; Joe Glaser, renowned luthier and fine instrument repairman and steel guitarist/producer Bruce Bouton, a fixture on high-profile recordings and tours for decades. Their goal was to collect flood-damaged instruments from top artists, which could then be sold as presentation/collector pieces. The group secured underwriting support from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, a major insurer of many of the affected artists.
"It was important to Fireman’s Fund that fire departments received a portion of the NASH2O proceeds because we heard from firefighters that they did not have all the tools they needed to respond to the Nashville floods," said Mike LaRocco, president and CEO of Fireman’s Fund. "It is our hope that the NASH2O auction will help address those needs."
The public will have a chance to bid via the online auction starting on October 12th at http://nash2o.org. The NASH2O auction is unique in several ways, as the instruments offered for sale are historic musical artifacts from the record flooding that tore through Nashville in early May wrecking havoc on several instrument storage facilities, as well as musicians’ homes and studios. But as Gruhn explains, the instruments themselves are unlike what is usually available to fans and followers:
"It’s fairly common to see instruments, signed by artists, for sale in charity efforts or given as contest prizes. But those are almost always pieces donated by a manufacturer for that purpose. They’re handed to the artist, he signs them, and that’s really the only connection he has with them. The NASH2O pieces are the artists’ personal instruments. Peter Frampton’s Les Paul is, well, Peter Frampton’s Les Paul. Brad Paisley's Tele-style guitar is Brad’s guitar. You hear that guitar on the records. You saw it in his hands in concert. These are very personal, cherished tools of the trade, and buyers can own a piece of that history, that pedigree."
Once the auction is complete on or around December 10, Tennessee fire departments will have the opportunity to apply for a grant. Fireman's Fund is currently working on the grant guidelines and will announce the application process in early 2011.
The core philanthropic mission of Fireman’s Fund is to support local fire departments across the country. Since 2004, Fireman’s Fund has issued grants to more than 1,500 different departments totaling more than $25 million. The money is used to provide needed equipment, training and educational tools to local fire departments. Visit www.facebook.com/SupportingFirefighters for information about the program.
Check for further information and updates at http://www.nash2o.org.
NASH2O is a charitable initiative to raise money from the damaged instruments, equipment, and other items and services to benefit musicians and in the greater Nashville music community, many of whom were uninsured for flooding, with a portion also going to greater Nashville fire and rescue departments in need of equipment. This effort is being spearheaded by luthier Joe Glaser, George Gruhn, and musician Bruce Bouton, with help from many others. Most pieces were flood damaged and have been decontaminated (and certified for safety). Some items were never touched by the water but have been donated specifically for this fundraising effort, such as special editions offered as sweepstakes prizes.
About Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company
With nearly 90 years of experience insuring the entertainment industry, Fireman’s Fund is the recognized leader in the field insuring artists and bands in all genres of the music industry and providing coverage for music festivals, record labels, promoters, talent management as well as sports teams and events. Fireman’s Fund is a member of the Allianz Group, the world’s largest provider of property and casualty insurance. For additional information, visit www.firemansfund.com.