This is not my first attempt at writing this. Initially I wrote an overview of benefit concerts and how some of the most legendary music events of all time — such as Live Aid, the Concert For Bangladesh, No Nukes — were all benefits. I explained how the purpose and emotions that go into benefits can create some truly inspired performances and that now, in the face of the recent tragedies, Ventura County will have two benefit concerts this weekend that have the potential to, blah, blah, blah.
But you know what? It felt like a fluff piece and one that didn’t get across the downright horror of what has occurred in our community. From devastating fires to a deadly mudslide to a senseless mass shooting at a local music venue, it’s not an exaggeration to say that for those affected, it’s been a living nightmare. While music can certainly be a positive distraction, I don’t think any concert can take away the pain that victims are feeling.
So with that said, I’m gonna keep it simple and to the point. The following two local music events will attempt to help raise money for the victims and the families of victims of last year’s Thomas Fire and last month’s Borderline shooting.
First up is the Borderline Shooting Victims Benefit Concert on Nov. 30 at Rock City Studios in Camarillo.
Rock City Studios is, hands down, the premiere all-ages venue in the county. In addition to the wonderful things it does for young musicians, from lessons to helping kids form bands to giving them a place to play, it is always up to help the community. Multiple benefit shows over the years have proven that. This latest, put together, incredibly, less than a month after the horrific murders just 10 miles away, the event features local bands The Velveteen Band, Professional Americans, Doc Infinity and one of Rock City’s student bands, The Unknowns.
Co-owner’s Brett Decarlo explains how the event came about. “We were on vacation in Mexico when we got word and we just felt terrible. We said we should go home. We can do more help there than here. We have to do what we know how to do. I knew we could do a concert and raise some money for the families. I never thought it would get this big. A ton of people have been interested. We’re having a massive silent auction. Our employees and staff are donating their time. One-hundred percent of what is made will be donated. It breaks our heart and as venue owners, this is the best thing we can do to help.”
Then the following night is the 1 Year Thomas Fire Remembrance Concert on Dec. 1 at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy headlines. It’s not just the biggest band to ever call Ventura home; it’s also one that puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to supporting the community. The swing legends already participated in the massive Thomas Fire Benefit earlier this year with Kevin Costner, Olivia Newton John and Kyle. Now BBVD is taking a night off from its national Christmas tour and joining other local acts Charles Law Band, Guy Martin, Todd Hannigan and Sleeping Chief.
During the day, Libbey Park will be turned into “The Togetherness Village” with vendors, food, arts, activities and an Art and Makers Market, which will feature artists who were affected by the fire. The Village will be free to attend throughout the day. Complimentary concert tickets will be given to fire and mudslide survivors, courtesy of event organizer Totally Local VC, run by Kat Merrick.
It’s not about who’s performing or who’s organizing the events. It’s about members of the local music scene trying to help victims in the only way they know how. If you consider yourself a member or fan of that scene in anyway, there simply isn’t a reason I can imagine to not support these events. It’s the least we can do during these very dark days in our community.
The Borderline Shooting Victims Benefit Concert takes place on Friday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m. at Rock City Studios, 2258 Pickwick Drive, Camarillo. For tickets and more information, call 805-383-3555 or visit www.rockcitystudios.net.
The 1 Year Thomas Fire Remembrance Concert takes place on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m. at Libbey Park and Bowl, 210 S. Signal Street, Ojai. For tickets and more information, call 805-222-6542 or visit www.totallylocalvc.com.