Monday, June 28th 2010
News: Gulf Coast Benefit
Across the nation on July 1st, music is officially stepping into the fight to aid those affected most by the Gulf Coast oil spill. Nationwide concerts will be hosted by a multitude of music venues on July 1st, all with one ambitious goal: Gather music venues around the country to donate ticket sales and create an online giving platform that encourages donations to the relief efforts.
With a fundraising goal of $500,000, donations will be directed to the project’s nonprofit partner the Gulf Restoration Network, which provides assistance to the people, wildlife and wetlands affected as well as advocacy work throughout the Gulf Coast. Revenues from ticket sales will be donated to help the fishermen and their families along the Gulf Coast cope with this disaster in addition to wildlife and wetlands restoration for the Gulf Coast. Over 25 venues have been confirmed and more are being added every day.
Mickey Avalon, Beardo and Wicker have graciously donated their time and “talent” to perform at The Viper Room in West Hollywood on July 1st, and will be joined by dozens of other artists across the country in their benefit efforts.
The wetlands and wildlife are in desperate need of our attention now and can’t wait for BP to take care of those in need. The livelihoods of many Americans in the affected area are forever affected by this catastrophe, and are already beginning to rely on food handouts for basic survival. With hurricane season on the horizon, there is reason for great concern and it’s crucial the affected communities be prepared for the worst.
Event organizers include Casey Phillips, talent buyer for venues including Tipitina’s in New Orleans and Viper Room & The Mint in Los Angeles; Nic Adler, owner of The Roxy on the Sunset Strip; Megan Jacobs of The Roxy, and Sloane Berrent, founder of Answer With Action and creator of The Causemopolitan.
We spoke with chief organizer Casey Phillips to get some more info on the benefit shows, as well as a firsthand account of what the atmosphere is like in New Orleans at the moment.
Have you been to the beach and seen the effects of the spill firsthand? If so, what do people need to know that they’re not aware of already?
Yes. The people in the communities along the Louisiana coast line are doing their best to keep the beaches clean. The marshes are stained in black and balls of oil are still prevalent. The oil is starting to wash up on the shores of Florida. The smell is overwhelming, past heart-breaking, past anger and after 60 days there seems to be a heavy blanket of depressed helplessness in the air.
The Gulf Coast Benefits are apolitical and a vehicle to help the people most affected… If you wish to get my personal thoughts on BP and their actions before/during/after the spill by all means give me a call.
New Orleans has been in a fight for survival for the past decade. In terms of the deep musical spirit of the area, what’s the general atmosphere among local artists in relation to this crisis?
The strength of the NOLA musical community is a force that some may have doubted before Katrina, but few question anymore. They have lead by example these past 5 years by refusing to let our musical heritage disappear. To me they represent pillars of strength for others to draw inspiration from. The cajun culture of the bayou regions is as important to Louisiana’s heritage as jelly-roll jazz. Right now the future for the fishing communities looks bleak, however, but I can say with certainty that the cajuns are proud people, and the backbone of Louisiana – we will not let them down.
How has the reaction been from your industry peers in putting the GCB plan together?
Unilateral outpouring of selfless kindness & open to helping any way they can. i’ve been particularly moved by the independent, venue owners’ contributions being that for the past few years we’ve really had to struggle just to survive. Larger indie artists like Rebelution, Ivan Neville, Mickey Avalon, Galactic, Kaki King, and Iglu & Hartly responded immediately as well as countless other bands/musicians too numerous to list but equally noble in their support. Lastly would be remiss if I didn’t mention Silverback Mgmt, OnlineGigs.com, Velour mgmt, Drew Landry, and the rest of the GCB team who have been instrumental in making this all come together so quickly.
What can people do beyond opening their wallets? What can we take away from this?
This is a long term issue, don’t allow “Gulf Fatigue” to set-in. This region of the country needs our help today, and will continue to need support for months/years to come as a result. This spill is not confined to Louisiana, it is important to note the devastating effects on the MS, AL, and FL fishing & tourism industries. Please plan on visiting these areas to volunteer and/or spend any extra dollars in this region when possible.
Sloane has dedicated most of her career to social change and has been instrumental in driving this initiative forward. As for myself, the team, and other participating venues I hope for this to be the start of a greater movement. The power of music goes way beyond the dollars we raise, and I’ve been shown a glimpse of what we can accomplish together on an indie level. Thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this, and reminded of just how many good people there are in the creative arts.
Thanks for your time! This is a fantastic idea and I hope we can get help you galvanize a larger movement.
People like you are the reason why music and the independent spirit continues to thrive & change people’s lives. I’m a big fan of Antiquiet, honored/appreciate the coverage of these events.
Details on how to make a donation or find an event to attend in your area can be found at GulfCoastBenefit.com. Both the online giving platform and an online auction is going to coincide with the benefit concerts.
Confirmed venues include:
Viper Room (Los Angeles, CA)
The Roxy (Los Angeles, CA)
Echoplex (Los Angeles, CA)
The Mint (Los Angeles, CA)
Fais Do Do (Los Angeles, CA)
The Comedy Store (Los Angeles, CA)
Saint Rocke (Hermosa Beach, CA)
SoHo (Santa Barbara, CA)
Mojito (San Francisco, CA)
Fox Theatre (Boulder, CO)
Belly Up (Aspen, CO)
Eddie’s Trackside (Monroe, WA)
Tipitina’s (New Orleans, LA)
The Blue Nile (New Orleans, LA)
The Shed BBQ & Blues Joints (Lafayette, LA)
Blue Moon Saloon (Lafayette, LA)
George’s Majestic (Fayetteville, AR)
Neumeier’s Rib Room (Fort Smith, AR)
The Shed BBQ & Blues Joints (Ocean Springs, MS)
The Shed BBQ & Blues Joints (Gulfport, MS)
Soul Kitchen (Mobile, AL)
The Shed BBQ & Blues Joints (Mobile, AL)
The Shed BBQ & Blues Joints (Destin, FL)
Lola’s 6th (Ft. Worth, TX)
Dante’s Bar (Frostburg, MD)
The Press Room (Portsmouth, NH)
Full list of participating venues can be found on Meetup Everywhere.