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Announcements

Folds to host, perform at ArtsVote events

As he did in 2016, Ben Folds will once again be advocating for the arts at both national political conventions. On Thursday, August 20, 2020, he’ll host a one-hour free virtual event prior to the closing night of the Democratic National Convention. Also speaking will be actors Annette Benning and Brian Stokes Mitchell; Megan Bayer, the co-chair of the Biden Arts Policy Committee; and Shepard Fairey, noted graphic designer, skateboarder and founder of the OBEY clothing line. Another live event is slated for August 27, the closing night of the Republican convention.

ArtsVote, a service of Americans for the Arts, is a cooperative effort among musicians, artists and others involved in the arts. The organization advocates for all Americans to register and vote. Those who pledge to vote and encourage others to do the same can have access to artwork, performances and merchandise offerings. There’s also information on how to register and vote in each of the fifty States.

Registration for the event is free but is limited. A recording of the event will be available two days following.  For more information, visit the ArtsVote site.

Folds cancels shows for the rest of 2020

Ben Folds today announced the cancellations of all his shows until at least the end of 2020. Here’s his statement:

This is the official announcement that my touring for 2020 is now canceled and will be rescheduled at the first opportunity in 2021. That’s the important part. But if you’re interested, here’s why I’ve made that decision now:

Infectious disease specialists tell us that COVID-19 will be here for a while, swirling around the globe until it is stopped by a vaccine, and that it is astronomically unlikely that we will develop and distribute that vaccine this year. In fact, we have never before developed a successful vaccine against any coronavirus. Well. That’s all I really need to know.

Just leaving shows on the books, going with wait-and-see until the last minute, is not in the best interest of ticket buyers, promoters, crew and even businesses near venues. It just adds to our endless list of uncertainties. What is needed in a time of such uncertainty, when a historic pandemic is killing people, erasing jobs, and disrupting life as we know it, is to shed as much of that uncertainty as possible, and to take stock of that which is certain.

Health and safety come first. That is certain. The well-being of my audiences — from 12-year olds whose parents cover their ears when I forget not to cuss, to couples their grandparent’s age singing three-part harmonies — is too dear to me to be put at risk. Not to mention those whose paths we might cross once the show lets out. Until this virus is in the rear view — and again we’re told this will not be in 2020 — we cannot be certain large gatherings won’t re-ignite the spread just as it’s been contained. I’m sure that some cities, states and venues might technically allow our concerts much sooner than others. But remember that the USA is a massive country. One city may experience what seems like complete recovery just as another in a neighboring state is seeing an uptick in cases. It would be irresponsible to incentivize music fans to travel from where there was a cancelled show in an infected area, to attend a show in an infection-free area.

Our federal government leaders have decided to let the states and cities fend for themselves, making decisions like these all more stressful. It’s a little like when traffic lights are out during a storm. (Nobody ever complained of the government coming between them and a car accident, did they?) Absent clear direction, we’re all left to rely on what the car ahead of us did, hoping that nobody gets run over in the process. Honestly, absent federal guidance, I took my cue from Taylor Swift who also cancelled all her touring for 2020. A decision like that takes guts, so thank you President Swift. And I’m grateful to have a booking agent, manager, and crew with broad shoulders.

Of course, this is a huge disappointment to me personally.  I’ve never gone a whole year in my two decades plus as a performer without seeing you all from the stage regularly.

Here’s what I say. Let’s get through this and look forward to a time when we can begin the next phase of that long road to recovery. When we can party like it’s 2021 and not like it’s 1918. When we can sing those three-part harmonies with healthy lungs. That is when live music will be able to step in and do its part to heal and inspire. Until then, please stay safe, and remember, no matter how bad it gets, the most comforting certainty is that all this too shall pass.

Ben

Sip virtual Scotch with Ben

Joining a growing trend among artists, publishers and other creators, Ben Folds has opened an account at the crowdfunding site Patreon, and will be offering enhanced content and experiences to those who become regular paying members.

Launched this week, Ben’s Patreon page will offer perks like live streams from his studios, MP3s of unreleased songs, and the opportunity to contribute to songs that are written and performed on the spot.

Subscriptions start at US $5 per month, and for that amount, members will receive (more…)

“Mister Peepers” 7 inch single drops Nov. 22; events planned

The single for Mister Peepers, Ben Folds’ song about deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and the derogatory characterizations of him (and which we wrote about here) will be released on 7-inch vinyl in the US. There’s a release event planned at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade at 3:00 pm Saturday, November 24, which is also Small Business Saturday. Ben will give a short performance, followed by a signing of the single. You only need purchase a copy of the 7″ ($8.99) to be admitted to the event. Doors open at 2:00 pm.

Rough Trade is a top independent purveyor of music and media. The Brooklyn store, in the Williamsburg neighborhood, is the largest of five locations, the other four being in the UK.

The 7-inch single, backed with A Million Years, will also be available, along with other special releases, at select independent record stores around the country as part of the Record Store Day event for Small Business Saturday. Check with your local shop for availability.

The Ben Folds Havana Getaway

foldscuba400In what is probably a first for an American musical artist, Ben Folds will be leading a four-day music and culture tour of the formerly off-limits (to US citizens, anyway) island nation of Cuba next May.

Called The Ben Folds Havana Getaway, the tour takes guests on a trip around the capital city and environs, featuring a private concert by Ben and another performance with some of Cuba’s top musicians. Also included are visits to Havana’s art galleries, museums, architecture and cultural institutions, a tour in one of the classic 1950s American convertibles that Cuba is famous for preserving, cigar and rum tastings, and special events revolving around Ben’s passion for fine arts photography.

The event, packaged by Cuba Arts Live!, takes place May 25-29. Cost ranges from $3,199 per person and up, with a couples rate of $6,199, and includes ground transportation, lodging, meals, events and concerts. Participants need to arrange their own air travel, visas and insurance, which can be arranged through the event’s travel agent. Also not included are incidentals, side trips, souvenirs and any extended stay expenses.

Registration opens Friday, December 16 and there is a discount for registering prior to December 31. Full information can be found here.