Music Forward Foundation 30th Anniversary
Celebrating 30 years of championing diversity through music
1993 was a year for the history books; Nelson Mandela won his Nobel Peace Prize, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated to the Supreme Court, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed across the USA for the very first time. The year of music was no different. Etta James gained her rightful place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Snoop Dog released his debut album, Prince changed his name to the iconic symbol, and two months after the opening of the first House of Blues in Boston, founder Isaac Tigrett and his business partner Dan Aykroyd began working on a non-profit that on February 8, 1993, was dubbed the International House of Blues Foundation (IHOBF).
HOB Boston and the International House of Blues Foundation opened their doors for classrooms to tour its American Folk Art collection, which was the largest collection on display at the time. School groups also experienced live musical performances and took an educational journey through the history of the blues and its influence on American culture today, this program was aptly dubbed Blues SchoolHouse.
The foundation set forth with the mission to “promote multicultural values of diversity and racial harmony through art and music” hoping to further the House of Blue’s mottos “Help Ever. Hurt Never.” and “Unity in Diversity”. Just one year later, July 1994, 5,000 students had jammed out to the Blues SchoolHouse program.
House of Blues began opening locations across the country including New Orleans, Chicago, and LA, the new headquarters. Along with the move to the City of Angels came the creation of the Foundation Room, which quickly became a staple of the House of Blues and a star-studded hot spot for Hollywood elite on the Sunset Strip.
IHOBF’s programs continued to grow and expand. Little Richard taught at Blues SchoolHouse and A-list celebrities including Stevie Wonder, John Goodman, Angela Basset, and more lent their star power for Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute shows. The foundation also began sending local artists to schools to teach artist-in-residence programs, as well as helping fund music departments and providing students with instruments.
Following Live Nation’s acquisition of the House of Blues in 2006, IHOBF joined the Live Nation family and continued to provide the same incredible programming. The organization officially changed its legal name to House of Blues Music Forward Foundation in 2014, and added performance opportunities and education for young musicians to their catalog of programming to teach them how to turn their passion into a profession.
Music Forward programs’ ongoing evolution became increasingly focused on workforce development, creating pathways to careers across the music and live entertainment industry, and focusing on communities so often underrepresented in the industry.
Now, 30 years after its founding, Music Forward Foundation is stronger than ever and still rooted in our original principles. We partner with industry leaders including BMG, Primary Wave, Concord, and many others to provide paid internships, apprenticeships, and more for our participants. Beyond that, Music Forward provides aspiring musicians and professionals with mentorship from industry professionals, networking opportunities, and access to paid performances.
To date Music Forward Foundation has served over 1 million young people and provided over $42 million in scholarships, workforce opportunities, relief funds, and more. Join Music Forward in celebrating our 30th anniversary! Check out our 30th events and find out how you can get involved, help transform young lives, inspire careers, and champion a more inclusive music industry for the next 30 years and beyond. Music Forward – we are Live!