Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her — confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.
We were out on tour a few weeks ago and our fiddle player had her very fancy and crazy expensive 200-year-old fiddle stolen straight from our van. She has used it daily for 20 years and it is a part of her identity, and an essential part of our bands sound. So how do we deal with the loss as a band? How do we possibly raise the funds for a new one?
You don't mention insurance, but I am going to assume that the money you need to raise is just for the deductible for this ancient-ass fiddle because if you were touring hard with that thing uninsured, I will have to crawl into the kitchen and eat cat kibble straight out of the bag. I cannot even ponder the possibility of the fiddle being uninsured, because I will wind up writing the rest of my reply in rageful shoutycaps. So. Ahem.
You can do a benefit, call in your big guns and whatever favors, publicize the shit out of it in your area publications. You wanna blow it out of the water rather than have four or five of these things over the course of a few months; people will burn out or feel milked and start suggesting your fiddle player get a cheapo electric violin from the '80s off of Craigslist.
You could also set up a crowdfunding drive on Indieagogo or the like, and promote that. Hopefully she can get a loaner in the interim for shows, or use her shitty practice fiddle. (Is that a thing? I might be making that up.) But you cannot be solely responsible for replacing it. You can do what you can do and the rest is up to her.
Your second option is to forget the fiddle and get a keyboard. Be a different band. Liberate yourself from tradition and go fusion.
Sorry for your loss.