Valerie June partners with the Newport Festivals Foundation to donate instruments and books to music programs in Tennessee and Mississippi

Valerie June, a Grammy-nominated musician from Tennessee, has partnered with the Newport Festivals Foundation, the organization behind the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals, Third Man Books and Gibson, to donate instruments and books to music programs in Tennessee and Mississippi.

On January 29, 30 and 31, Valerie and illustrator Marcela Avelar will travel to different organizations to read her new children’s book Somebody to Love: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele. At each stop, she will donate copies of the book to local music programs. In addition, the Newport Festivals Foundation and Gibson will donate ukuleles to each music program. The Deering banjoleles will be donated to the National Museum of African American Music and the Grammy Museum.

In total, over $5,000 in books and instruments will be donated, including two Deering Banjoleles, 25 ukuleles and over 30 books.

Said Valerie June, “music is a universal language. I am thrilled to partner with the Newport Festivals Foundation in these donations because by sharing music education with students, we cultivate unity and spark the creativity of young minds. Playing instruments increases the use of your neural network. Music enriches mental and emotional well-being when many children need more mental support. An education in music also improves math skills and improves memory and language abilities. Together, these are the seeds for young dreamers to begin to build a more harmonious world”.

Events info:

Sunday, January 29th – The Blue Room @ Third Man Records – Nashville, TN

Third Man Books presents an event for kids featuring Grammy-nominated musician Valerie June! Valerie and illustrator Marce Avelar will celebrate their children’s book Somebody to Love: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele. The event will feature music, songs and activities, all planned for the children and led by Valerie and Marce! Doors at Activities begin at 2 p.m. Admission $5. Free for children under 12. Books will be available for purchase. Book signing after the performance. Link to advanced tickets HERE.

Monday, January 30th – Stax Museum of American Soul Music – Memphis, TN

Wear your favorite pajamas or comfy clothes and curl up on the floor for a book reading and short performance by Valerie. June Monday 30 January at 18.00 at the Stax Museum! All ages are welcome and admission is FREE.

Tuesday, January 31st – Grammy Museum Cleveland, MS

In celebration of GRAMMY® Week 2023, the GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi is thrilled to welcome Valerie June to the Sanders Soundstage for a performance and conversation about her career and recent GRAMMY-nominated album titled Call me a fool as well as her first children’s book with the title Somebody To Love: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele. Tickets are now on sale HERE! $15 for museum members and $30 for non-members

“The Newport Festivals Family is so excited to support Valerie and the amazing work she does for the local music education programs down here,” said Newport Festivals Foundation Executive Director Jay Sweet. “One of our founders was Pete Seeger, who traveled this country with a banjo in hand, singing to young people about compassion and the power of music. We know Pete would be thrilled to see Valerie carry on this legacy. It’s The spirit of the people is about”.

About the Newport Festivals Foundation:

The Newport Festivals Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance the legacy and expand the impact of its folk and jazz festivals through educational initiatives that celebrate innovation while preserving the deep traditions inherent in jazz and folk music. The foundation’s goal is to offer opportunities, inspire through exposure, and facilitate the raising of resources necessary for musicians to celebrate and innovate. The focus on creating unique experiences to drive engagement is achieved through a variety of initiatives taking place across America, including instrument donations, school performances and support of music education programs with partner organizations.

For more information on Newport Festival’s educational initiatives, please visit

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