Hurricane Harvey made a mess in Houston and I feel guilty for crying about how hot it’s been lately here in our beautiful bubble, San Diego. I’ve wanted to help, but I mean -- where, when, and how?
Dustin Lothspeich, talent buyer at Hillcrest venue/bar the Merrow (and SoundDiego associate editor), decided to create an awesome opportunity for folks to lend a musical helping hand by setting up not one, or two -- but three -- Harvey relief benefit shows. Twelve local bands, three nights, and a $10 cover per show that acts as a donation to the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund.
“When Harvey struck, my first thought, like a lot of people's, was what can I do to help?” Lothspeich told me. “Nobody knew how bad the damage would be; we still don't. You feel a little helpless when something of that magnitude happens. But my main reaction was to put together some sort of fundraiser. Since I'm the talent buyer at the Merrow, I have a venue at my disposal and I knew what dates we had available to put something on. So I made a general request on Facebook to see if any local bands would even be interested in volunteering to play. Needless to say, the response I got was faster and bigger than I even expected.”
The first fundraiser, which takes place on Friday, Sept. 8, features Sights and Sages, Noble War, Fashion Jackson, and Daytrip. The following week's benefit (Thursday, Sept. 14) will include performances by Super Buffet, Mittens, the Peripherals, and the Kathryn Cloward Band. The venue's last fundraiser is Wednesday, Sept. 20, and will include sets by the High Rolling Loners, the Anomaly, Jesse Lee (from the Paragraphs), and Annette Conlon. Live music won't the only thing offered to show-goers either.
“My wife, Jennifer, saw what I was doing and knew there was even a better, more efficient way to raise money -- and that was by contacting a lot of our favorite San Diego businesses and organizing raffles to be held at a couple of the shows with 100% of the proceeds heading to the United Way," Lothspeich explained. "So she's spearheaded that part of it and deserves all the credit in the world. As of right now, we've received donations from Small Bar, Big Front Door Deli, the Belly Up, Cow Records, Re-Animated Records, Refill Coffee Shop, Vom Fass, Crest Cafe, Paramount Pictures, Hoffers Cigar Bar -- and many others are in the works. The contributions have poured in from all over San Diego; it's been amazing."
If any local business owners want to donate items for raffle at the Merrow's benefit shows, please contact Lothspeich directly here.
Also getting in on the charity is Little Italy hotspot the Music Box. Their benefit show, “San Diego For Houston” takes place on Saturday, Sept. 9, and features San Diego R&B/pop star Frankie J, B-Side Players, Osmar Escobar, Paula Deanda, and Malik. There will be a minimum $20 cover (donation) for general seating. Visit the Music Box website for various additional seating options.
Proceeds from the show's ticket sales will be donated to YouCaring -- a San Diego County-based crowdfunding charity for Hurricane Harvey victims that hopes to raise more than $25,000 -- and will personally be delivered to Houston residents by Frankie J himself.
Help local musicians support Houston!
Musician, people-pleaser, lover, fighter and writer Matthew Craig Burke has been spewing musical words of wisdom since never. He lives off of peanut butter sandwiches, beer and Beck Hansen. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.