I’m torn. On one hand, I feel like benefit concerts are more than merely a convenient way for organizations to garner attention and perhaps some much needed fiscal support. They are, in fact, a responsibility.
Musicians are supported, if not necessarily financially than certainly emotionally, by the community. It’s where the fan base originates and those precious moments in front of an audience are found. And if, from time to time, an act or artist is asked for a gratis performance, there’s no harm in obliging – in moderation.
It’s the moderation thing, however, that becomes a problem. The truth is that there far too many benefit concerts in the Augusta area.
Some, such as Rock Fore! Dough, are of significant scale. Others are more modest.
My concern is that though each is carefully organized and presented with an admirable cause in mind, the sheer number devalues the effort.
Let’s use, as an example, the recent Lexie’s Legacy benefit, held June 1 at Sky City. The concert featured a long-awaited reunion by Joe Graves and the Dirty Left Hand, supports a scholarship program targeting a group of students often overlooked when it’s time to hand out the collegiate grants and is organized by John ‘Stoney’ Cannon – an Augusta music legend – and his lovely wife, Jean. And yet, it didn’t generate the sort of buzz expected.
Though I don’t have an airtight set of statistics decoding what went right or wrong with the event, I feel like the benefit-saturated public didn’t give it the attention it deserved because it was viewed as one of many.
I fear (but hope I’m wrong) the same might be the case for the 4th annual Shine for Scott benefit. The concert, scheduled for noon-10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at Laura’s Backyard Tavern in Evans, benefits colon cancer research.
Acts scheduled to perform include Celia Gary, George Croft and the Vellotones, Jesup Dolly, the Palmetto Pickers, Grim Rooster, Some Machine, Sheldon and Davin McCoy. It’s a good show with a good lineup at a great underappreciated venue for an excellent cause and a terrific price – just $10, unless you’re age 12 and under.
My fear is that it might get lost in the crowd.
So what is the answer?
I refuse to advocate thinning some of these worthy shows from local venues, but I wonder whether organizers might find their events more effective – and profitable – if they occurred once every other year.
Absence, after all, makes the heart grow fonder.
Barring that, perhaps a joining of forces – two or three smaller events combining for a single large-scale concert – would help. There’s no real equation for it, but I know that the model, as it has been operating, isn’t working as well as it should.
A FRIENDLY REMINDER. We are still accepting submissions for the 2013 AMPED music contest.
Solo acts, full bands, choirs, orchestras – all artists playing original music are welcome to submit.
We’re ready to listen.
Find the rules at augustachronicle.com/ampedrules.