The tightknit bluegrass family is pitching in in a big way to help Aaron “Frosty” Foster’s family pay his final expenses following the 28-year-old’s unexpected passing Wednesday.
Like many musicians, the young picker didn’t have insurance, leaving unpaid medical bills and funeral costs for his family to deal with.
A Go Fund Me campaign set up on Friday had already raised more than $18,000 toward its $20,000 goal. The campaign was set up by Candi Sawyer, event producer at the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival, where Frosty was first a participant in, and later a leader of, the Kids Academy.
“He has touched so many people’s lives and has left big holes in our hearts, but we will treasure the time we had with him,” she wrote in the call for donations. “It’s a helpless feeling for everyone.”
Those who wish to contribute to the campaign can find the details online.
Another fundraising effort, started by one of his bandmates, involves the sale of memorial t-shirts, with the money above costs going to Frosty’s family. The shirt, designed by Elizabeth Bowman, features the headstock of a dreadnought guitar with a snowflake inflay, just like he had on one of his favorite guitars, with “Aaron ‘Frosty’ Foster” above and “1992-2021” beneath it.
While texting with the other surviving members of The Michelle Canning Band the other day, trying to absorb their loss, she started noodling on a design. “I was wanting to do anything other than just sit there,” she recalled.
Liz and Frosty shared what she called a “true friendship,” based on ongoing heckling. “We picked on each other a lot,” she said, but it was all in fun. “I used to tease him about that snowflake on his guitar all the time.” But he gave as well as he got. Once, she recalled, she texted that she was sorry she didn’t get a chance to talk to him after a show of his she went to see. Almost instantly, he shot back, “I’m not!”
Canning, who was 12 when she met 13-year-old Aaron at the Jenny Brook Kids Academy, bonded with him and remained best friends since, said today that more than 600 of them had already been ordered. That alone represents more than $8,000 for the family.
If you’re interested in checking out the shirts, or ordering, go to Bonfire online.
The vendor said the shirts will be delivered in early to mid-March.
Friends are also helping the family seek the help of the Bluegrass Trust Fund.
It has always impressed me that bluegrass is one big family. Sometimes we argue about whether certain music is true bluegrass, or if particular instruments should be excluded. But when someone falls on hard times or tragedy strikes, everyone comes together. So it is in this case.
Frosty didn’t live long, but he went about it the right way, encouraging his students, serving as cheerleader-in-chief for The Michelle Canning Band and The Amanda Cook Band, and being a good guy. He played with authority, hinting at a future as a bright star. Alas, it was not to be.
As it says on the shirt, Aaron “Frosty” Foster, 1992-2021. He sure packed a lot of life, and a lot of music, into that dash between the two numbers.