When John Foxworthy posted an idea on social media that would benefit local bar and restaurant workers, he expected some Facebook friends would be on board.
He instead heard from 70 bands interested in his adaptation of Farm Aid, the benefit concert supporting farmers: A digital concert series helping servers and bartenders during the coronavirus-related shutdown.
Performances were quickly scheduled, and a GoFundMe page for the effort – Fort Wayne Bar Aid – was established with a $20,000 fundraising goal.
More than $3,200 had been raised as the final livestreamed performances ended Sunday night, about two weeks after concerts began.
Proceeds will be split among employees at The Brass Rail, Muse on Main, Deer Park Irish Pub, Beamer's, The Ruin, 4D's Bar & Grill, The Glory Hub, Carl's Tavern, Hop River Brewing and Funk You Inc., Foxworthy said.
More than 60 people watched Sunday night on Facebook as music duo Honey in the Sun performed various covers, including ditties from No Doubt and Bonnie Raitt, while sporting such casual clothing as slippers and apparel promoting Deer Park Irish Pub.
“OK, try to keep this upbeat,” Abigail Noble said as she and Joe Welch prepared for another song.
Viewers applauded the only way possible on Facebook – through “likes,” “loves” and comments.
The Fort Wayne duo interacted with the online audience between songs and reminded viewers to donate to the cause.
“Thank you, everybody,” Welch said after about 50 minutes. “This is really fun.”
As they signed off shortly after 9 p.m., Noble blew the virtual audience a kiss.
“Stay healthy, stay safe,” she said. “Bye, bye.”
Foxworthy enjoyed watching the unity involved in Fort Wayne Bar Aid, which offered multiple concerts on weekends along with shows on weekdays.
The effort involved musicians of varying genres and exposed the artists – who were local and regional – to new audiences, Foxworthy said.
Foxworthy wasn't upset Sunday about falling short of the $20,000 goal through its GoFundMe page, www.gofundme.com/f/fort-wayne-bar-aid. He understood Fort Wayne Bar Aid – which will accept donations through mid-week – competed with other causes.
“Any amount we raise is a success,” he said Sunday afternoon.
Money to pay for even one meal can make a difference, he said, adding: “That's worth it.”