As our southeastern neighbors continue to be devastated by hurricanes, Columbia musicians and artists have come together to put their talents to a philanthropic use. Keith Fletcher, a local musician, had a regular gig booked on Labor Day at Cooper's Landing, a marina on the Missouri River with a restaurant and concert venue, when he decided to change it to a fundraiser for hurricane relief instead.
"I don't own a boat and couldn't get down there, but one thing I can do is turn my Labor Day gig at Cooper's into a fundraiser to help the survivors of this terrible flood, a disaster like we've never seen in this nation," Fletcher writes in his Facebook post for the event.
This isn’t the first benefit concert he has organized; he's set up performances in support of natural disasters before, such as the 2011 Joplin tornado, the earthquake and tsunami in Haiti in 2010 and Hurricane Katrina.
After raising $366 for hurricane relief at his Labor Day event, he was inspired to keep the momentum going and put together more benefit concerts to help those affected by the recent hurricanes.
Friend and fellow local musician, Debbie D’Angostino, owner of Debbie’s Table, a charity for local musicians, has also set up benefits in the past. When she caught word about Fletcher’s concert, they decided to work together with Lisa Bartlett, owner of ARTlandish Gallery, and Pat Kay, a manager at The Blue Note, to get more concerts established at their respective venues. D’Angostino says this particular event means a lot since one of her friends lost everything in Hurricane Harvey.
Even on short notice and amidst a busy music schedule with the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival coming up and 9th Street Summerfest coming to a close, Columbia’s music community was more than willing to join forces and help in any way it could.
“The community aspect is important," D’Angostino says. "Musicians tend to be like that anyway, understand relationships in a different way."
From approximately 2-6 on Sunday, Sept. 24, local artists including Violet Vonder Haar, Dave Bandy and the Great Blue Heron and Keith Fletcher's One Man Blues Band will play at the ARTlandish Gallery and Fretboard Coffee patio in an intimate setting. The Blue Note will host a second big stage production at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, with local bands including Don't Mind Dying, Keith Fletcher, Moon Belly Dance Studio and The Fried Crawdaddies.
Both concerts will accept a $10 suggested donation at the door. The funds raised will be sent to the United Way and donated directly to its hurricane relief efforts sending money to those affected by the hurricanes.