Haim, Beth Ditto, ZZ Ward & More for Girls Rock Camp Foundation Event


By Kennedi Johnson

There are certainly plenty of amazing girls who rock, but in a male-dominated music industry, it’s hard to deny that we need to nurture more rockin’ girls. That’s where the Girls Rock Camp Foundation comes in. Since 2014, the organization has provided funding and support to Girls Rock Camps nationwide. On Friday April 29, the Foundation will present its first annual “Girls to the Front” gala at LA’s Chateau Marmont.

The event will be hosted by writer, comedian, and Golden Globe-winning actress Rachel Bloom. Singer-songwriter and the Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto will be the event’s VIP dinner host. Ditto will be accompanied by singer-songwriter ZZ Ward and indie pop duo Tegan and Sara. There will also be a special performance by the LA-based sister rock group HAIM.

“Girls to the Front” will honor the pop songwriting duo Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter. Michaels and Tranter have collaborated together on Justin Beiber’s “Sorry” and Selena Gomez’s “Good for You”.  They have also been sought out by many other renowned musicians including Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love and John Legend.

In addition to Michaels and Tranter, Ethiopia Habtemariam will be honored at the event. Habtemariam is the President of Motown Records, the President of Urban Music, and Co-Head of Creative at Universal Publishing Music Group. Her accomplishments have landed her on Billboard’s highly acclaimed “40 under 40”, “30 under 30”, and “Women in Music” lists.

The event’s star-studded honorary committee is worth mentioning as well: Kristen Bell, Margaret Cho, Marianne Faithfull, Kathryn Hahn, Kathleen Hanna, Cyndi Lauper, Reba McEntire, Rose McGowan, Yoko Ono, Katy Perry, Chloe Sevigny, Carly Simon, Tegan and Sara, and AGI’s Marsha Vlasic.

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Pabst Blue Ribbon Grants Bands’ Wishes Through the PBR Music Foundation

By James Pleasant

Burgeoning bands often face countless obstacles on the road to success, whether it’s a broken down tour van, unexpected illness or even a chance encounter with a crocodile who gobbles up all of their gear (it could happen!) Luckily, Pabst Blue Ribbon is coming to the rescue with its recently launched PBR Music Foundation—a brand-new organization dedicated to helping musicians in need.

Here’s how it works. Musicians and bands from any genre are welcome to seek support from the PBR Music Foundation. They simply need to submit a sincere video explaining why they need the assistance.

Each month, PBR Music Foundation will award one band or musician a grant to help them overcome any hardships they’re facing in maintaining their music career and continuing their dreams.

“Touring bands and musicians know all too well the roadblocks (sometimes literally) that can hurt or hinder their road to success,” the Milwaukee-based brewing company said in a statement. “A van might break down, get a flat, or need a new transmission, or maybe the lead singer got hit with a flying bottle at a show and needs stitches. At the end of the day, these things cost precious time and money, and the more trouble a band has bouncing back quickly the longer it might take them to reach their full potential.”

To qualify, bands and musicians must submit the video and online application to pbrmusic.com, with bonus points given for creative submissions. The company also requires that the artists have a social media or an online presence.

“Another good prerequisite is to be a passionate, and somewhat well-rehearsed band,” says the spokesman in the official video released to promote the foundation. We don’t want a group of hacks playing shows just to get some tail.”

The launch of the foundation is part of PBR’s continuing involvement in the music industry. The company also holds its annual Project Pabst Music Festival, which is set to take place in Denver, Portland, Atlanta and Philadelphia this spring and summer with headliners including Duran Duran, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Violent Femmes, Ice Cube, Andrew W.K., and additional artists to be announced.

To learn more about the PBR Foundation, click here.

Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Throw a Quinceanera for Two Great Causes

By Kennedi Johnson

Funnyman Will Ferrell and his uncanny lookalike, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith, cordially invite you to their Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceanera! That’s right — two grown men are throwing themselves a Quinceanera. On Friday April 29, Ferrell and Smith will deliver musical and comical entertainment to LA’s Shrine Auditorium.

Aside from Ferrell and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the proposed line-up is guaranteed to please: Devo, Jim Gaffigan, Nick Offerman and many others! Ferrell and Smith first joined forces for a hilarious drum-off competition in May 2014 on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, which raised more than half a million dollars for charity.

Surprised by the success of their short gag, Ferrell and Smith searched for new ways to raise money for their charities. “So much goodwill came out of one silly joke,” Smith says. “We’ve been trying to find another way to get together and do some good for our respective causes and I think we have found it.”

The Quince will raise money for two commendable charities. Ferrell’s charity of choice is Cancer for College. Cancer for College was founded in 1994 by Ferrell’s college fraternity brother, Craig Pollard. The charity’s mission is to help cancer patients go to college through the provision of scholarships. As of today, Cancer for College has raised more than $2 million for over 1,000 cancer patients and survivors in the United States.

Smith’s charity of choice is the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. Silverlake Conservatory is the brainchild of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bass player, Flea. Arts funding and education are increasingly dwindling within the public school system. Silverlake Conservatory’s mission is to provide a basic music education for the Los Angeles community’s youth. The charity is able to secure this music education through the provision of extremely affordable or free instruments and music lessons.

Tickets for the Red Hot benefit Comedy + Music & Quinceanera show are available on Funny or Die’s website here. Don’t miss out on the chance to be a part of a star-studded night of entertainment that’s all for a good cause!

Check out Ferrell and Smith’s original drum-off below.

The Avett Brothers, Deer Tick on McMenamins Compilation to Bring Music to Kids in Hospitals

The Avett Brothers

By James Pleasant

Not only is McMenamins famous for its homebrews and the handcrafted spirits served up in its unique pubs, historic hotels, and concert venues throughout the Pacific Northwest, but it’s also releasing a compilation album in celebration of the 10th anniversary of McMenamin’s Great Northwest Music Tour (GNWMT) – and it’s all for a great cause.

The compilation, which features artists including The Avett Brothers, Deer Tick, Langhorne Slim and Elizabeth Cook, benefits the Children’s Cancer Association’s music program, MyMusicRx.

The artists featured on the compilation donated these songs, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go towards MyMusicRX, which is a program designed to help children deal with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses through the power of music therapy.

MyMusicRX’s program provides patients with sing-a-longs led by experienced music specialists, music lessons, concerts, greetings from artists, and the opportunity to play digital instruments.

The Portland-based program focuses on treating patients with “music medicine” in order to bring them joy and serenity in the face of serious illness. They currently serve more than 5,000 kids and teens in 20 pediatric hospitals across the country.

The McMenamins GNWMT, born in 2006, gathers developing artists to play free shows at McMenamins hotels throughout Oregon and Washington. This year’s compilation album features artists who played at previous GNWMT events, and is just a taste of what fans can expect if they attend the live shows.

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Giving Back at SXSW: A Rewarding Service Project for a Local Homeless Shelter

SXSW-goers including Chadwick Stokes of State Radio assemble gift bags for an Austin homeless shelter

This year’s South by Southwest Music Festival was a whirlwind of great music, thought-provoking panels and of course beer and barbecue, but one thing that made it even more memorable than usual was taking part in a service project to help a local Austin homeless shelter.

The unforgettable day started off with an official SXSW panel we took part in, titled “Music & Activism: Amplifying Your Voice for Social Good.”

(L-R) Jeb Gutelius, Marta Riggins, Marika Shaw, Chadwick Stokes & Laura Ferreiro at the SXSW Social Giving panel

Chadwick Stokes, the frontman for State Radio & Dispatch and Co-Founder of Calling All Crows; Jeb Gutelius Executive Director of The Ally Coalition, Marika Anthony-Shaw of Arcade Fire and founder of Plus 1; Marta Riggins, Pandora’s Director of Employee Experience & Marketing; and Laura Ferreiro, Founder of Music for Good & M4G Media, had a lively discussion about how musicians, fans, brands and non-profits can come together to make a positive impact while supporting good causes and addressing important social issues.

Immediately following the panel, we invited audience members and other musicians, brands and SXSW-goers to put together gift bags for the local Austin homeless shelter, Front Steps. Volunteers of all ages came together to assemble gift bags full of shaving supplies, warm socks, healthy snacks and more. We also included handwritten notes in the bags to add a personal touch. After gathering all the goodies together and placing them in backpacks, we loaded up the sporty red vehicles that Mazda generously lent us to transport the gift bags from the Austin Convention Center to the front door of Front Steps.

Stokes helps a young volunteer assemble gift bags

“One of the things people experiencing homelessness in Austin need the most is shaving cream and razors,” explained Kay Klotz, Front Steps Communications and Development Director. “Socks are also so important when it is raining or cold as foot problems are common. We were thrilled to receive approximately 300 backpacks containing these items. More importantly, our clients were thrilled to receive them! Every time a group makes a special effort to acknowledge the people who are experiencing homelessness, it lets them know that they are not invisible.”

Loading boxes outside the Austin Convention Center to deliver to Front Steps homeless shelter

We all agreed that this was one of the highlights of SXSW and that we’d like make the service project an annual tradition.

“Since we had a panel about music and activism during SXSW Music, we didn’t want to just discuss how easy it is to give back, but also demonstrate how easy it can be,” said Riggins.

(L-R) Laura Ferreiro, Marika Shaw, Jeb Gutelius, Chadwick Stokes & Marta Riggins amid a sea of backpacks donated to Front Steps homeless shelter

“Seeing musicians, brands and attendees come together to give back at our service project was inspiring,” she added. “It re-affirmed our belief that SXSW is a great way to bring like-minded people together in the music industry to make an impact. After touring Front Steps and learning about their needs, all of us felt that we could help solve this problem and believe there is potential to do even more social good at SXSW next year!”

Jack Johnson Interview: The Musician & Environmentalist Illustrates How Easy It Is to Be Green

Jack Johnson educates & entertains kids through his Kokua Hawaii Foundation environmental programs. Photo: Ryan T Foley

By Laura Ferreiro

Jack Johnson has long been known for his laid-back, beachy vibes and his feel-good music. But beneath his calm surface and easy-going demeanor lies a very thoughtful, calculating artist and environmental activist who knows exactly what percentage of carbon emissions comes from fans traveling to his shows and has devised creative ways to make his tours more environmentally friendly while supporting great causes.

The 40-year-old singer was well on his way to a successful career as a professional surfer when he had a bad surfing accident at the age of 17, running into a coral reef and severely cutting up his face. As a result, he quit pro surfing and decided to pursue music. It ended up being a fantastic career move, as his 2001 debut album, Brushfire Fairytales, went platinum and paved the way for even greater success headlining major festivals, amassing a huge and loyal fanbase and releasing numerous hit albums.

All the while, Johnson has effectively used his platform as an artist to gather people together and champion the causes he deeply cares about. “Growing up [in Hawaii] I had a profound love for the natural world and the environment and the ocean,” Johnson tells Music for Good. “As I got older, I found myself in this position [as a musician] where I suddenly had the ability to gather lots of people at once.”

Kim & Jack Johnson. Photo: KokuaHawaiiFoundation

Kim & Jack Johnson. Photo: KokuaHawaiiFoundation

Johnson’s wife, Kim – who was his college sweetheart – left her job as an educator to manage his tours in the early stages of his career. Working together they saw how they could use their unique position to affect positive change. “I took her out on the road with me, and we started to see that the potential to gather all these people and how to use that to affect these communities in a positive way,” Johnson recalls.

This desire to give back became even greater after Johnson was asked to perform at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit, an annual star-studded concert to support the School, which is dedicated to educating children with special needs. “Being invited to Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit and seeing their strong community of musicians and whole team coming together to do something so positive for the community was really inspiring,” Johnson says. “Coming back to Hawaii we did the first Kukua Festival, inspired by the Bridge School Benefit. I had conversations with Pearl Jam, Neil Young and Willie Nelson, and found out what they were doing.”

Meanwhile, Johnson had gone from playing small clubs and restaurants to headlining amphitheaters and major festivals. While most musicians would be thrilled about this, Johnson had a bit of an existential crisis when he realized the negative impact his tours were having on the environment.

“When you’re traveling in a van, your tour is low impact by nature,” he says. “[In the early days] all of our gear fit into one minivan and our impact was pretty low.” But then, as his tours and fanbase grew, so did the negative impact his tours were having on the environment. “A majority of emissions is from the fans coming to the shows,” he explains, admitting there was a time when he wasn’t sure he wanted to keep doing it because of this. Then he realized there was a way to reduce the harm and increase the good, and it made sense to him again.

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Kanye West, The National, Mumford & Sons & More for Global Citizen Compilation Album

Mumford & Sons

By James Pleasant

Kanye West, The National, Mumford & Sons and Ellie Goulding are some of the artists who will be featured on Global Citizen’s upcoming compilation album, Metamorphoses.

Mumford & Son’s Ben Lovett teamed up with Global Citizen – a nonprofit dedicated to ending worldwide poverty – and enlisted some his favorite artists to contribute to the 12-track album, set to be released this fall.

As part of the project, Global Citizen is giving fans around the world the opportunity to contribute to the project by allowing them to submit lyrics, poems, stories, reflections and thoughts for the album.

Fans across six continents have already submitted their Metamorphoses contributions, and Global Citizen has extended its original deadline and will be accepting submissions until March 31.

The musicians featured on the album will pick their favorite submissions, and will integrate them into the original songs they write.

“Everyone knows that music is a powerful force that for thousands of years has inspired change, given hope, and provided healing to people,” said Lovett in a statement. “Metamorphoses will transform your thoughts and feelings into music, giving a voice to the words that might well inspire change, give hope or provide healing for other citizens around the world.”

Additional artists will be announced in the coming months leading up to the album’s release.

Global Citizen is well-known for its Global Citizen Festival, which is the organization’s free annual concert. Last year’s event took place in New York City’s Central Park and featured performances from Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Pearl Jam and Coldplay.

Global Citizen is working to end extreme poverty by 2030, and has raised more than $19 billion to date, helping millions of people living in poverty around the world.

If you would like to submit lyrics to Metamorphoses, click here. To learn more about Global Citizen, go here.

Beck, Animal Collective, Kid Cudi and More to Headline Non-Profit McDowell Mountain Music Festival

Beck will perform at 100% non-profit McDowell Mountain Music Festival

By James Pleasant

Beck, The Avett Brothers, Kid Cudi, Animal Collective, Gary Clark Jr, Bloc Party and more are set to headline the McDowell Mountain Music Festival’s (M3F) — a 100% non-profit music festival set to take place March 11-13 at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

M3F is dedicated to celebrating community, culture and charity, and aims to support, entertain and educate the community throughout Arizona.

Each year, the festival donates all of its profits to a couple of local charities, and has raised more than 1 million dollars for charities since its inception in 2004. M3F raised $120,000 during its 2015 event alone.

One hundred percent of the proceeds for this year’s event will go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UMOM New Day Center.

UMOM is the largest homeless shelter in Phoenix, and provides homeless families in Arizona with food, shelter, and emergency assistance. Fifty-nine percent of the residents at UMOM are children, according to the shelter’s website. Just last year, UMOM provided 190,280 meals to homeless individuals in Arizona.

Founded in 1983, Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of the largest children’s hospitals in the US, providing medical services to children all over Arizona.

In addition to the main performers, M3F will include performances by 16 local artists including Captain Squeegee, Fairy Bones and Huckleberry. The main acts will perform at Hance Park’s two stages, and a third acoustic stage will be set up by the front gate, so anyone who didn’t buy a ticket can still enjoy a taste of the music.

Previous performers include The Roots, Phantogram, Slightly Stood, Widespread Panic, Passion Pit and The Black Crowes.

For more information about M3F, click here. To purchase tickets for the event, click here.


Music Freedom Day Honors Victims of Paris Attacks & Celebrates Freedom of Speech Through Music

By James Pleasant

Can you imagine what it would be like if music didn’t exist, or if your government banned any form of musical expression and you could be persecuted or imprisoned for creating – or even for listening to – music?

Music Freedom Day, which takes place on March 3 every year, is dedicated to celebrating freedom of expression, and standing up against oppressive forces that want to silence artists and musicians around the world.

Music Freedom Day also highlights the significance and powerful impact of music in society, and celebrates how music has historically been effectively used as a tool for political protest.

This year, Music Freedom Day is dedicated to the victims of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France, where 89 people were killed at an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan Club.

Music Freedom Day was established by FreeMuse —an organization dedicated to freedom of expression through music. Since the event’s inception in 2007, more than 30 countries have joined the cause, creating initiatives all over the world.

FreeMuse encourages music fans around the world to create workshops, arrange lectures, or talk to friends about the importance of free speech and the dangers of censorship. FreeMuse stresses that anybody can participate in Music Freedom Day, as long they have a passion for music and freedom of expression.

Events will be held to this year to celebrate the day in countries including the United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Pakistan, Spain, Sweden and Senegal.

What’s more, BBC World Wide North America will premiere They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile on March 4, as part of the Music Freedom Day celebration.

The documentary tells of the story of the Malian people’s struggle after Islamic Jihadists – who took control of northern Mali in 2012 – imposed strict Shariah law on the region’s people, banning all forms of music.

The documentary, which features a score composed by Yeah Yeah Yeah’s guitarist Nick Zinner, opens at Village East Cinema in New York City on March 4, and Los Angeles’ Laemmle Santa Monica Theater on April 1.

To find out more about the activities and events taking place for Music Freedom Day, click here.

Join Members of Arcade Fire, State Radio, Ally Coalition, Pandora & Music for Good to Give Back at SXSW

(L-R) Marika Anthony-Shaw, Laura Ferreiro, Jeb Gutelius, Chadwick Stokes, Marta Riggins

It’s easy to get swept up in the insanity of SXSW – checking out countless new bands, hobnobbing with friends and colleagues, and of course indulging in the ubiquitous beer and barbeque. But what if you could do all that and still take time to give back to others in need and be inspired by creative ways to use music and marketing to help out some terrific causes?

On Wednesday, March 16, join Music for Good, Pandora, the Ally Coalition and members of State Radio, Dispatch and Arcade Fire for the panel Music & Activism: Amplifying Your Voice for Social Good. We’ll discuss how musicians and brands can easily bring attention to important causes such as protecting the environment, music and arts education, youth homelessness, LBQT equality, disaster relief, human rights issues and much more, and make a hugely positive impact.

The panel will feature Chad Stokes (frontman for State Radio & Dispatch and Co-Founder of Calling All Crows), Jeb Gutelius (Executive Director, the Ally Coalition), Marika Anthony-Shaw (Arcade Fire violist & Founder and President of Plus 1), Marta Riggins (Director of Employee Experience & Marketing, Pandora), and Laura Ferreiro (Founder of Music for Good & M4G Media) who will also spearhead a service project to assemble care packages for the homeless immediately afterwards.

We’ll look at the benefits of using a public platform to bring attention to good causes that need support, how to empower fans and colleagues to solve these issues together, and how you can get involved and team up with likeminded people and organizations to make a real difference.

What’s more, right after the panel, join us for a service project to give back to the Austin community. We’ll be putting together care packages at the Austin Convention Center for the local homeless shelter Front Steps, which provides shelter and affordable housing for those in need.

WHAT: Music & Activism Panel and Service Project

WHEN: Wednesday, March 16, Panel 3:30-4:30pm; Service Project 5-6pm
WHERE: SXSW, Austin Convention Center, 531 E. 4th St Room 13AB for Panel, Room 8AB for Service Project

We look forward to seeing you in Austin!