PORTSMOUTH – On April 24, beginning at 1 pm into the evening hours, the Press Room will host Make Music, Not War: A Benefit for the People of Ukraine, which will feature seven musical acts.
The event will also serve as a clothing drive and a makeshift market selling sunflowers, flags, Ukrainian crafts and more. Proceeds from the day will benefit the people of Ukraine.
Seacoastonline caught up with organizer Jason Probert to discuss the ins and outs of what’s going down.
Seacoastonline: Tell us about Make Music Not War … What’s it all about? What’s going down?
Probert: Make Music Not War: A Benefit for the People of Ukraine is a pretty simple concept. It’s a gathering of local musicians coming together to provide an opportunity for people to donate money and clothing to a people in need, while enjoying some great music. We’re not trying to be too political with speeches and discussions. This is an event to celebrate the resilient people of Ukraine. Along with the music, we will have sunflowers and flags for sale, Ukrainian crafts, a clothing drive and more. One-hundred percent of proceeds will go to charity. We are still deciding on the specific charity, but it will be one directly aiding those in need with medicine, food, clothing and shelter.
Seacoastonline: Who all is playing the benefit? Is it straight music, or are there other elements involved (like spoken word, etc.)?
Probert: The benefit will consist of seven bands all local to Seacoast New Hampshire. High Range, a bluegrass band, will kick things off at 1 pm, followed by a long-awaited return of local icon Jerry Brookman at 2 pm Each band will play a 45-minute set. Following Brookman will be the gypsy swing inspired music of The Hot Club of Portland, which is a group formed by Groovechild guitarist Bryan Killough. The Hot Club of Portland is followed by the multi-talented and prolific legend that is Dan Blakeslee. The evening gets a bit louder at 5 pm with the garage-style rock of Kong Moon. Following Kong Moon will be the multi-genre R&B (rhythm and bluegrass) band Bitter Pill at 6 pm And closing down the show at 7 pm is Elroy, bringing us “new rock in the old style.” It’s electric, but not electronic.
More:Musicians to band together for Ukraine at Music Hall concert
The outpouring of support for this benefit has been amazing. All the musicians immediately said ‘yes’ and donated their time and music without hesitation. As well as the music, we have many other volunteers and businesses that were eager to help. Ken Gray was immediately on board helping us with graphics. Dagan Migirditch at Liar’s Bench has been very helpful with his knowledge and resources. The Flower Kiosk generously donated sunflowers that will be for sale, and arrangements for the stage, to honor the fallen citizens of Ukraine. Kateryna Ridley will offer her Ukrainian flags for sale, and we will have other Ukrainian crafts available as well. Marc McElroy of Gary’s Guitars has also been a huge help with organizing and mentoring. So, we are planning to have an exciting and eclectic mix of people and activities to go along with the music. We would also like to ask that people bring clothing to donate that we can collect and bring to the appropriate organization.
Seacoastonline: What was the impetus behind organizing the event? What’s the importance of a small town in New Hampshire doing good for a cause on a global stage?
Probert: When I heard of the devastation occurring in Ukraine, I felt like it’d be good to do something to help. Not being a man that could donate vast sums of money, I took a look around and wondered how else I could contribute. Being a musician, I thought that perhaps I could contribute with my band Kong Moon, and hopefully we could join a music benefit. When I searched a bit for something to join or be a part of, I didn’t find anything, so I decided I would try to put something together. I asked my Kong Moon bandmates what they thought, and they were immediately on board and encouraging. The next step was to call Tristan Law at the Press Room, and he was without hesitation, excited and generous to find a date for us. After that, it’s just been a bunch of texts, messaging, and emails to generous musicians, individuals, and businesses that have made this idea a reality.
I realize we aren’t going to change the world with our local benefit. But we shouldn’t look at it like we’re alone in this fundraising. We aren’t the only people across the country, or world, that are holding these small charitable shows to raise money for the people of Ukraine. If we look at it like we’re doing our small part in a collective whole, then we realize that real life-changing amounts of money are being collected. In fact, even in Portsmouth, there are multiple charity events for the Ukraine. Kate Redgate has organized a wonderful event at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, where a few bands are getting together to perform the Beatles album Let It Be. What a great way to bring people together to donate money. I hope there will be more events like these in the near future. So, much like an election where every vote counts, every dollar counts when collected to help those in need. And in this case, I hope we can do our part for the people of Ukraine.
Seacoastonline: How can folks help? What do they need to know?
Probert: People can help by attending the show with open minds, ears and wallets. We’d like to raise as much money as possible, but that isn’t possible if people stay home on Sunday, April 24th. And please spread the word. Word of mouth and social message sharing are always a great and easy way to let others know about what is going on.
Go & Do
What: Make Music Not War: A Benefit for the People of Ukraine, featuring 7 Seacoast bands and crafts to purchase
When: 1 pm, Sunday, April 24, bands perform 45-minute sets beginning on the hour
Where: The Press Room, Daniel St., Portsmouth
Admission: Tickets are $ 20 for this 18-plus show and available at pressroomnh.com
More info: Check out pressroomnh.com.