Meet Musicians Defend Ukraine – Support Fund of the Musicians at the Front


Since the beginning of the war many musicians have changed their musical instruments for weapons and culture managers went to fight from the cultural to the real front. To provide them with all the necessary things, their colleagues founded the Musicians Defend Ukraine fund.

They are patronised by Anna Yevstihnieieva and Anton Pushkar (Band Love’n’Joy and Crime Records studio), Lesyk Omodada (studio Shpytal records, bands Tik Tu and Omodada Gee), Yura Bazaka and Katia Voichuk – culture agency kontrabass promo.

Katia Voichuk told SLUKH about the fund foundation process, whom it helps, the way it assures the international music community to donate to the military needs and who has got the aid in the form of walkie-talkies, bulletproof vests, thermal imagers, and first aid kits from Musicians Defend Ukraine. She also explained why the fund should continue its work even after the war.

Beginning of fund work

At the time of full-scale invasion, fortunately, we happened to be in safe places. At first, we supported a great deal of initiatives and were involved in different kinds of volunteer activities. However, since then we’ve understood that it is worth focusing on the industry we work in and which we want to continue developing during the war and after the victory.

Many musicians and culture managers are placed in quite different conditions – they are protecting the country on the front line as fighters and volunteers. Their requirements in protection, equipment, special devices and medicines increase every day. We decided to concentrate on these people’s needs so that we could go on working with them and reinforce the community in difficult times.

Besides, Ukrainians lose the chance to financially support the fighters and volunteers. Each of us has got a great deal of acquaintances abroad. They are tour friends, festivals and concerts organisers, acquaintances from conferences and showcases, media partners and fellow musicians. That was the way how the audience, focus and aims of the fund were formed.

Who Musicians Defend Ukraine ask for help

First of all, they are the representatives of the music industry abroad and we ask them to become our benefactors. We communicate in private messages, and appeal to specific organisations.

We explain that our musicians, promoters, club owners and festival organisers have to protect our cities. Instead of music they are involved in getting the victory which is essential not only for Ukrainians. So by protecting the colleagues from Ukraine, everyone is able to contribute to the victory and development of our culture.

Fundraising issues that came up

In the first week, we had problems raising funds from abroad. Firstly, Europeans are afraid of financing the war. They are ready to provide funds for humanitarian aid, medicine but not thermal imagers, bulletproof vests or other kinds of military stuff.

We explained that while helping one military person now, they will help ten people not become refugees in future. Secondly, in several countries the page of our fund was blocked because of the images of people dressed in military clothes with weapons. Our requests for help were considered as the appeal of terrorism.

We had to “demilitarise” the site to continue fundraising. Luckily, Ukrainians were active at that period, so the first 100,000 UAH were raised with our countrymen’s own efforts.

Who already got the aid

By this time, we have supported some of our friends-musicians. There were the requests from Oleh Kadanov (Mantry Keruaka, Liniia Mannerheim), the guys from art shop Module who are now in the ranks of AFU in the east, Pavlo Nechytailo (Zapaska), Olexii Bykov (Our Atlantic).

We were putting financial aims for a week, raising money, buying necessary items and sending them. So, we also carry out the organisational part: we search for and form first aid kits, buy knee pads all over the country, select the necessary batteries for walkie-talkies, and the rest. 

The detailed reports and pictures can be seen in the social nets of our organisations.

It is no less important than money because hryvnias on the account won’t protect you on the front line.

Who can get the aid

Now we have already reached the stage of getting regular contributions from abroad. Sometimes there are residual funds and we are ready to accept the new applications

The criteria for the recipients are the next: 

  • the work in the music industry(a musician, group manager, concert organiser, sound engineer, etc.)
  • a specific request (10 walkie-talkies, 50 first kit aids, 34 knee pads, a bulletproof vest)
  • you need this now or in the nearest future but you don’t pack your own “anxiety backpack in store.”

Following these criteria will allow us to target the efforts in the necessary direction and quickly provide with really urgent needs. 

Fund’s future plans

We want our fund to be active not only during the war but after the victory as well. We will have to renew our cities and studios there, improve concert venues, record and promote new music. We hope to be able to help hereafter.

Useful links: a fund site, a uniform for the musicians who need help, a fund Instagram page.

Translator: Inna Khrystych (+380993094694)

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