MANILA -- They thought about cancelling this year's edition, according to the producers of the annual Awit Awards. It was the absolute last option, they said, but it was on the table.
What nudged them towards pushing through with it was the heart-tugging display of musicians during these difficult times, with many said to have waived talent fees and played for free to help others, despite being affected themselves by the pandemic.
The result is a virtual ceremony that aims not only to recognize the next big thing in local music, but to raise funds for those artists struggling to make ends meet because of COVID-19.
"Indeed, the generosity of heart of our music frontliners inspires us to move forward and to triumph over the adversity we are all up against," said Marivic Benedicto, the president of the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI).
"We want to send the message that this, too, shall pass. That we must push on and keep the music playing to help ourselves and others cope with the difficulties they encounter every day."
PARI noted that the music industry raised over P600 million thru fundraising activities such as "Bayanihan Musikahan," by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, and "Pantawid ng Pag-ibig," which was organized by ABS-CBN’s Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation.
With this mind, PARI created the Awit Fund, the proceeds of which will be used to assist the music frontliners. People are free to donate to the fund, PARI said.
"Give back to those who have entertained you with their musical talent and beautiful voices," the campaign read.
The announcement of the Awit Fund comes a month after the decision to go virtual was revealed.
The 2020 Awit Awards will be an all-digital program that will be streamed live on the Facebook page of Awit Awards on August 29.
The nominees for this year's edition can be found here.
The performers can be found below: