Colorado fire relief via music: 10 acts that could play big benefit concertsBy Ricardo Baca | June 27th, 2012 | 5 comments
As eight fires consume forests, housing and resources across Colorado today, it’s easy to think back to September of 2010 when the Fourmile Canyon fire was raging outside of Boulder. The horrific images from the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires, among others, are a stark and immediate reminder of the devastation and destruction that comes along with a large-scale fire.
But in thinking back to the Fourmile Canyon fire, many will remember the mammoth and influential benefit concert that was held at the 1stBank Center – which was the local arts community’s most lasting contribution to the Boulder County tragedy. The concert featured all four members of Phish, the String Cheese Incident, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and others, and it raised more than $300,000 for the Boulder Mountain Fire Relief Fund.
While multiple modest fundraising concerts have been announced in the last few days, fans also await the bigger announcements to come. As of Wednesday, no large-scale music benefits have been announced. We’re expecting that to change – and soon.
Looking back on past benefits – from Dave Matthews Band’s benefit for Hurricane Katrina at Red Rocks to Phish and Co.’s Fourmile benefit at the 1stBank Center – we’ve learned a thing to two about the kinds of bands who will dedicate their time and music to a charitable and worthy cause.
It helps if they come from a community-minded perspective to begin with. It’s also a big deal, especially for national acts, if they already have an income-producing concert already on the books. Matthews already had a couple Red Rocks shows planned in 2005, and he and promoter AEG Live added one more, asking the city and various vendors and unions to donate their services to raise $1 million toward Hurricane Katrina relief. The Phish gig worked out the same way in 2010 for the Fourmile benefit.
Of course the appeal also needs to be there. The band needs to have the extra pull to play its scheduled gig – and also sell more tickets to a fundraising show.
So who will step up to raise musical money for the eight fires currently scorching the state? Nobody’s saying right now, but after a glance at venue and artist schedules, here are 10 possibilities, given the above guidelines.
String Cheese Incident: These community-minded Boulder boys had significant ties to 2010’s Fourmile Canyon benefit, and with three dates on the books at Red Rocks – July 5-7 – they’re a prime candidate for a fundraiser, be it at Red Rocks or elsewhere.
Global Dance Festival: The annual three-day mash-up of electronic culture will take over Red Rocks from July 20-22, and the event’s brain trust, Ha Hau, has a history with charity. After a 7.0-magnitude leveled much of Haiti in early-2010, Hau organized an all-local event, Global Dance For Life, that sold 10,000 tickets to the Denver Coliseum, raising more than $84,000 for UNICEF.
James Taylor: The old folkie has supported more than his fair share of causes throughout his career, and his July 23-24 stand at Red Rocks gives him an opportunity to lend a hand – at Red Rocks or another venue.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Few people playing Colorado this summer have raised more money for chosen causes than Young, whose Bridge School benefits are the thing of legend. When Young brings his band to Red Rocks for an Aug. 5-6 stand, will he stick around for another gig – one to help fight fires?
Pretty Lights: Derrick Vincent Smith now lives in Denver, but he was raised in Fort Collins – just miles away from the High Park fire. With two high-profile headlining dates at Red Rocks on Aug. 17-18, it would seem logical for him to lend his name and good vibes to a night of big beats and big charity.
Mumford & Sons: These Brits love Colorado – Telluride, especially – and they have a notable break between their just-announced Aug. 28 date at Red Rocks and their Sept. 1 show at Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day festival. A lot can happen in three open nights, including – perhaps – a fundraising show?
3OH!3: These electronic hip-hoppers hail from Boulder – which is endangered by the Flagstaff Fire. So will they make an effort to raise funds for the cause at or around their Sept. 16 date at Red Rocks, which has them playing the radio-oriented Channel 93.3’s Big Gig with the Silversun Pickups and the Hives?
Furthur: Throughout its many incarnations, from the Grateful Dead to Furthur, this loose group of musicians (including Bob Weir and Phil Lesh) has seen a lot of support from Colorado throughout the decades. Will they choose to pay it back, when they rock the Rocks on Sept. 21-23?
Rise Against: Colorado might as well be Rise Against’s second home, given the amount of time the band has spent recording at Fort Collins’ famed Blasting Room studios – not to mention the local history of founding drummer Brandon Barnes, who grew up in Conifer, attended Evergreen High School and CU-Boulder and now lives in Morrison. The socially conscious band has two headlining shows at the Fillmore Auditorium on Sept. 24-25.
Dispatch: Not only do these boys have local ties – including Denver-rooted singer/multi-instrumentalist Brad Corrigan – but they also have long and deep ties to activism and charitable causes. Will we see anything around their Sept. 28-29 concerts at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield?