As I sit here writing this, up to 100 million gallons of oil has spewed into the gulf and as it continues to do so, it is destroying our fragile ecosystem and people's livelihoods. We cannot just sit, watch the news and continue to say, "This is horrible!" and, "How could this happen?" without some action to back it up. This problem is our problem now and we need to stand up and help where ever and however we can.
Who Is Helping the Gulf Coast Region?
There are so many groups doing amazing work along the Gulf coastlines. After days of due diligence and research, our co-producer Sloane Berrent came back to the group with multiple nonprofits to partner with and options but we all narrowed in on the Gulf Restoration Network's new initiative, Gulf Future, because we all thought it reflected our mission. Support the coastal and fishing communities, restore the marine and costal environments and, maybe most important, make people aware and responsible for what has happened in the Gulf so history does not repeat itself in the future.
How are we raising money?
Naturally owning The Roxy in Los Angeles, I thought we should throw a benefit concert, but then wondering how to make it really have an impact, it came to me, what if we reached out to our neighbor businesses to see if we could all work together and really take something as simple as a benefit concert and turn it into a wave of action. I then reached out to Casey Phillips, who I knew as a true New Orleans man and someone who had a real "on the ground" pulse of what was happening. Not only was he a native of the area but also the talent buyer for multiple clubs including our own Sunset Strip neighbor, The Viper Room. Casey echoed my same thoughts and went into action immediately bringing in Sloane Berrent and The Roxy's Megan Jacobs along with a team of people who knew something had to be done now. Three weeks and a couple of thousands emails later, we now have over 50 independent music venues and over 100 bands fighting for the cause.
All the venues will send their gate revenues from these shows directly to Gulf Restoration Network within 72 hours of our shows. Also, our donation widget send funds directly to the Gulf Restoration Network's account so we don't ever touch the donations and they all go directly to the nonprofit partner. We're making sure it gets into the hands of community groups like Bayou Grace and St. Bernard Community Center within weeks and we'll be sharing that with those who made donations both online and through attending events through social networks and follow up blog posts with our partners.
We Have Venues, Now We Need Talent...
The Roxy, The Viper Room, The Comedy Store and Tipitinas are among dozens of the nations best clubs and music venues that are coming together in solidarity to fundraise for gulf oil spill communities on July, 1st. Plus individuals have planned smaller events to support our efforts across 11 countries, it's pretty incredible!
This is our call to action as it is for all the bands that our participating in this national one day event and we've gotten such incredible talent including:
Rebelution / Galactic / Kaki King / Mickey Avalon / Ben Lee / Guitar Shorty / Iglu & Hartly / Ivan Neville / Cisco & Shwayze / Walter Wolfman Washington / Sarah Borges / Coco Robicheaux / Beardo / Wicker / Lost Bayou Ramblers / Rotary Downs / Daryl Hannah / Dave Faustino/ Ed Begley Jr
Although I'm unsatisfied with the clean up and the support that the fisherman have received so far, I am inspired to know that all over the world people are signing up and either giving their time and effort or donating money to make a difference in the spill zone. That gives me great hope that when we look to our neighbors, no matter how close or far away they may be, we will always come together to help the ones in need, that is what our great country is best at. What we have put together is only the beginning of a long line of projects that others will continue to do until every drop of oil is cleaned up, every bird and fish healthy and every person who has been directly affected by this has been compensated. We can only accept yelling at the TV after we have done something to make difference so please get involved anyway you can. The time is now!