John Prine Tribute Week Rescheduled to October 2022 Due to COVID-19 Delta Variant Surge
A planned week-long tribute to John Prine in Nashville is being rescheduled to 2022. The folk legend's family and record label announced the news on Wednesday (Sept. 8), citing the current surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
"Our sincerest wish was to gather safely this October to celebrate the life and music of our beloved John," the Prine family and Oh Boy Records share in an email, adding, "This decision to reschedule was not made lightly. We worked tirelessly to find a way to move forward in a safe and responsible manner, while also keeping in mind the intended joyful spirit of this long-awaited celebration and remembrance.
"This event is extraordinary in the sheer number of artists, crews, and fans that are planning to travel and gather together," their statement continues. "In light of how John died, we just could not reconcile pushing forward and adding any undue stress and anxiety during an already fraught season."
Prine died of COVID-19 in April 2020, as the novel coronavirus pandemic was just beginning, and with social distancing guidelines and pandemic-related shutdowns in full effect, the folk icon's family, friends and fans could not gather in person to honor him then, and have yet to be able to do so. You Got Gold: Celebrating the Life & Songs of John Prine — a week's worth of tribute concerts and events culminating on what would have been Prine's 75th birthday on Oct. 10 — was to be their chance.
Instead, You Got Gold — named for a Prine song released in 1991 — will now take place on Oct. 7-12, 2022. Tribute concerts scheduled for the Ryman Auditorium, the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum and the Basement East have all been rescheduled for that week.
Fans can visit YouGotGot.JohnPrine.com for more details on the new show dates; all previously purchased tickets will be valid at the rescheduled concerts, but refund information is also available for those no longer able to attend. Prine's widow, Fiona, and their son Jody share in a video message that, now that they have more time to plan, additional events will be added to the week.
"Our deepest apologies to those disappointed in hearing this news. Our family wanted nothing more than to gather with you all and remember John together," the statement from the Prines and Oh Boy concludes. "We very much look forward to seeing you all next year when we can gather safely and joyfully, and truly be together as a big family and community to remember and celebrate the life and songs of one extraordinary man."
You Got Gold will benefit the Hello in There Foundation, a non-profit organization established by Prine's family in his memory. "The work of the foundation will be inspired and guided by John’s simple song title, “Hello in There,”" the You Got Gold website explains, "and aims to identify and collaborate with individuals and communities where people of all ages are marginalized, discriminated against or, for any reason, are otherwise forgotten."
The Nashville-based Thistle Farms and Room in the Inn — which work with female trafficking, prostitution and addiction survivors and the homeless population, respectively — will be the Hello in There Foundation's first beneficiaries, and will still receive donations this year. The Hello in There Foundation is also making donations to Hurricane Ida relief efforts and those helping Afghan refugees, Fiona and Jody share in their video message.
Despite the postponement of You Got Gold, a Prine tribute album is still set for release on Oct. 8. Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2 will feature Brandi Carlile, Sturgill Simpson and many more covering Prine's songs. A full tracklist for the project has not yet been announced, but 2010's Vol. 1 includes covers by, among others, Justin Townes Earle, the Avett Brothers, Sara Watkins and Drive-By Truckers.
Prine is known for songs such as "Sam Stone" and "Angel From Montgomery," the latter of which Bonnie Raitt made famous. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in January of 2020, just over two months before he died of COVID-19. His Oh Boy Records — the label that Prine co-founded with his manager, Al Bunetta, in 1981 — is also celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2021.
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