All In Washington Announces Virtual COVID-19 Concert with Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Ben Gibbard, Brandi Carlile, and More

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

UPDATED 6/4: In light of countrywide protests following George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, the organizers of All In WA have postponed the concert until Wednesday, June 24th at 7 PM PST.

A new campaign called All In Washington was announced this week with the aim of helping those impacted by COVID-19 in Washington State. As their website states, All In Washington is a “coalition of public officials, companies, philanthropic leaders, community foundations, United Way organizations, community leaders, frontline nonprofits, and individuals.”

Their goal is to provide relief and support for Washington State families and workers while working alongside community and philanthropic groups. At the time of their launch, $20 million has already been raised toward their ultimate goals of $65 million. To reach this goal, they’re looking to get a little help from some famous friends.

On June 10, 2020 at 7 PM, the coalition will host All In WA: A Concert for COVID Relief by presenting sponsor Amazon. The concert’s lineup boasts some of Washington state’s most well-known artists and entertainers, including, Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Brandi Carlile, Ciara, Ben Gibbard, The Black Tones, Dave Matthews, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Mary Lambert, Allen Stone, actor Joel McHale and the Seattle Seahawks’ Coach Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. The full lineup will be announced at a later date.

In advance of the event, KEXP’s Emily Fox talked with Governor Jay Inslee about All In Washington, the virtual benefit concert, and how we all can do our part in helping each other and our communities during COVID-19. Read excerpts from their conversation below.

KEXP: So first, where will these funds eventually go towards? Who will benefit from these funds?

Gov. Jay Inslee: Well, it's very much up to the Washingtonian who wants to make that decision. There are multiple directions where people go. There's kind of five major ones. One is an effort to help people with food. We have so many tens of thousands of people with food insecurity in our state.

A second is for youth and youth homelessness. A third is for undocumented folks. Fourth is for small business people and the fifth is for economic recovery. And then there are some smaller firms that people can target their money to as well. And then there's a fund where people can just chip in and the nonprofit will decide where it goes. So it's really eclectic.

[It] allows people to have kind of a boutique place to put their dollars. And I think that's really a smart way to do it because everybody has a cause and all causes in Washington are good and all of them help all across the state. So whatever your taste is, you'll find a home to help Washington through this crisis.

Yeah and a non-governmental advisory board will help make some determinations on where these funds are allocated. But I'm curious, what type of aid has the state been able to give so far when it comes to Coronavirus relief?

Well, we've got the standard – the unemployment compensation of billions of dollars, the pandemic unemployment assistance program. Certainly our housing and our food stamps, a whole host of those different areas. Now, we hope that Congress is going to provide an additional source of funds so states can do more for people. But that's up in the air right now. It's passed in the House, but the Senate has not passed it. So we hope the Senate will join the House and really respond to the needs of states.

Because states... Look, we have needs for kids and schools. We have needs for healthcare. We have needs for basic nutrition. So we hope Congress will help out. But this is a way not to have to worry about Congress. People can individually step up to the plate and we've been pleased so far and also enjoy some great music. So I'm looking forward to hearing some great Washington talent.

Yeah, that's right. To help raise this 65 million dollar goal for All In Washington, there'll be a virtual benefit concert featuring Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Brandi Carlile, The Black Tones, Dave Matthews, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Ben Gibbard, Allen Stone, and many more. Musicians are often called upon to help raise money in times of crisis like these benefit concerts. I'm curious if the state and All In Washing have any plans in terms of helping musicians as well as music spaces that have been hit by the Coronavirus?

Well, we know that musicians are small business people and there are some small business assistance funds. But you're actually the best thing we can do is to beat this virus. That's the best thing we can do for everybody in business, including employees, and then help people through this. And that's what we're doing.

So we are so appreciative of these musicians. I think of Brandi Carlile, what she's doing. Taking their time to help us out. We are so appreciative of what they're doing. Now, a bunch of people, this is going to be a thing where if you have $3 to help, it's great. Then we have some larger organizations. Amazon is helping produce this, which we appreciate. This is a place where everybody can contribute.

I'm just curious, overall, what do you think it's going to take to ensure the health of the people of Washington as well as our economy when we look in the long run of this pandemic?

Well, what we do is until there's a vaccine – and we hope that there will be one, there's been some good news in that regard but nobody can tell when or how – but until then, it's up to us to protect ourselves and our families. That means doing the social distancing that we know it works.

The one good thing about this is [that] we know social distancing works. It's a very effective technique and we all have the power to do it, by and large, it means washing our hands. It means wearing a mask. We go to a grocery store or retail outlet now, wearing a mask protects your neighbors. It protects your friends. It protects everybody in your community. The one thing that's good about this is it's under our control.

We have the ability to affect our own destiny here. Washingtonians have been doing this. That's why we've been considerably successful in bending the curve down to keep these infections down. And we ought to be real proud of what Washingtonians are doing. We just got to keep it up.

What are your biggest hopes with All In Washington?

Well, that everyone will find a way to participate. It's a connection. Everyone can be helpful. Everyone can be a contributor. Everyone can feel a connection that they're not helpless. And I think no matter what your contribution is, you're making a difference. And that feels pretty good. So it's a good shot in the arm for self-esteem and feeling you're connected to the community.

You know, certainly in my lifetime, this has been the biggest shock and this is the largest number of Washingtonians who are really in need right now. We've got people literally in hunger. You know, you saw they handed out potatoes on I-5 at the Tacoma Dome a week or so ago and the line was like a half mile long. We have people who were really hungry. We have kids who are homeless. We have small business people who need assistance. We have so many people unemployed.

I guess the way I would think of this is if you think of your whole lifetime, if you're ever going to chip in a few dollars to an effort, this should be a great time.

Learn more about All In Washington here.

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