Hot Chip, Jessie Ware, The National and More to Play Massive Global Concert Series Aiding Refugees

The National

By Kennedi Johnson

On September 20, in more than 200 cities across the globe, hundreds of artists will come together to put on more than 300 concerts. Music fans will open their homes for the concerts, hosting the likes of Hot Chip, Billy Bragg, Jessie Ware, The National, Kate Tempest, and Grouplove in their very own living rooms.

This “Give a Home” concert series is not only pioneering, but it also supports an important humanitarian cause. The series is collaboration between Sofar Sounds, a London-based company specializing in holding concerts in the comfort of peoples’ homes, and Amnesty International, the world’s largest human rights organization. The two organizations are coming together to bring awareness to the growing, and extremely urgent refugee crisis.

The current number of refugees across the globe is estimated to be above 21 million. That’s right—over 21 million men, women, and children have been uprooted from their homes to flee the ruins of war, persecution, or natural disasters. And only 10 of the world’s 193 countries host more than half of the refugees, meaning that those in need have limited access to vital resources and shelter.

The concert series will give people the chance to show solidarity and love towards those without a place to call home. “With more than 22 million people forced to flee their home country, the world refugee crisis is one of the defining issues of our era,” says Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “How we respond to it now will shape who we are for generations to come. This is our moment to defend the things that unite us and refuse to let fear and prejudice win.”

In addition to the musical performances, each concert will also include talks from activists working with refugees who will offer concertgoers a better understanding of the refugee crisis and share ideas of what can be done to help.

“Music and art have always been powerful partners to the cause of justice because they share an ability to stir something deep within us,” Shetty adds. “They help us to look beyond borders and see what unites us.”

Fans can apply for tickets here and select their city and the event of their choice, earning the chance to win two tickets. They will have the option of making a donation to Amnesty International when applying. The concerts will also be livestreamed via VICE and Facebook Live.

To learn more about Amnesty International and its campaign to aid refugees, click here. To learn more about Sofar Sounds, click here.

Bleachers and The Ally Coalition Promote LGBTQ Equality on Summer Tour

By Alexandra Gulesserian

Forty percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Yes, you read that number correctly. It’s a staggering figure, and Jack Antonoff of the bands Bleachers and Fun. believes it’s #Time2StepUp for LGBTQ equality. This is why Antonoff and his Bleachers bandmates have teamed up with The Ally Coalition, a national non-profit that works with entertainers and their fans to raise awareness, action and funds in support of LGBTQ equality, for the #Time2StepUp campaign.

Bleachers and The Ally Coalition are touring North America together this summer, raising awareness and funds for organizations that support the LGBTQ community nationwide.

We’ve made great strides in the last few years. The Supreme Court ruled the constitution guarantees marriage for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there is still a long way to go. There are currently more than 30 states that have introduced anti-LGBTQ legislation. What’s more, discrimination, hate crimes, and homelessness are affecting the community in big ways.

There are many incredible ways to get involved and support this great cause. You can rock out across the country during the Bleachers Tour this summer. You can also volunteer with The Ally Coalition at one (or more) of their tour dates and earn free tickets to the show. Or visit The Ally Coalition website to find out how you can win a chance to meet Jack Antonoff, and get Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Pandora free for a year by donating or participating in online activities!

Check out tour dates here. For more information on how to win prizes and get involved, click here.

Moby, Neon Indian, Mayor Garcetti and More to Take the Stage at Second Annual Climate Day LA


By James Pleasant

Moby, Neon Indian, Weyes Blood, comedian Eric Warheim and many others will hit the stage at the second annual Climate Day LA—a day-long event presented by Southern California public radio station KCRW, IHEARTCOMIX and more to celebrate the importance of finding solutions to climate change.

Climate Day LA, taking place June 27 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, will support the Path to Positive LA initiative, which aims to reduce emissions and climate threats in Los Angeles—a city that boasts some of the worst air pollution in the US, according to a report by the American Lung Association.

Climate Day LA will begin with a daytime conference featuring lectures from climate experts, local leaders, and advocates discussing and strategizing methods to combat climate change. Speakers will include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Climate Resolve founder Jonathan Parfrey.

The daytime conference starting at noon is free with RSVP, but general admission to the evening concert costs $35 and will feature performances by international artists and DJs including Neon Indian, Weyes Blood, Eric Warheim and more. Single admission tickets to the Benefit Gala, featuring an exclusive DJ set by iconic electronic artist Moby cost $150, and a bundle for both the concert and gala costs $185.

Climate Day LA takes place just a few weeks after President Donald Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement—an international agreement aiming to reduce and decelerate the harmful effects of climate change.

To buy tickets to Climate Day LA, click here. For a full schedule and further details about the event, click here.

Pitchfork Music Festival Stands Up to Gun Violence with New Initiative

By James Pleasant

The Pitchfork Music Festival is teaming up with Everytown for Gun Safety and Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK) for the new Beats >Bullets initiative, designed to help reduce the rampant gun violence in Chicago.

“Chicago has always been our home, and we strive to make a positive impact on its culture, using the three days in the park as a way to honor and support the diverse communities that compose our vast city,” said Pitchfork president Chris Kaskie. “This year we further that commitment by partnering with Everytown and MASK to bring people together to celebrate art, peace, and love alongside a goal of furthering awareness of this very real issue.”

Pitchfork Music Festival

As part of the initiative, Pitchfork Music Festival is asking attendees and musicians performing at the festival to participate in the Wear Orange campaign to honor National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 2. Anyone can get involved and show solidarity by wearing orange and posting on social media with the hashtag #Wear Orange.

Everytown for Gun Safety and Pitchfork Music Festival designed an online toolkit for other events and organizations in Chicago that would like to join Beats > Bullets and help spread gun violence awareness throughout the city.

“We’re lucky to live in a city with so many summer events that bring people together,” said Pitchfork Music Festival Director Mike Reed in a statement. “We hope Beats > Bullets can help all Chicagoans to engage with, support, and join the struggle against gun violence. Let’s join together and make this summer safe.”

More than 4,000 people in Chicago were killed or injured because of gun violence in 2016, and so far, this year, nearly 1,200 people in the city have met the same fate.

The Pitchfork Music Festival takes place on July 14-16 at Union Park in Chicago and will be headlined by LCD Soundsystem, Solange and A Tribe Called Quest. Other performers include Danny Brown, Vince Staples, Madlib, Angel Olsen, PJ Harvey, American Football, and many more.

For a full lineup and to buy tickets, click here. To learn more about Wear Orange and Beats > Bullets, click here. You can also click here to access tools to orange your photo, set save the date reminders, and sign up to receive more information.

Chance the Rapper, John Legend, Paramore and More to Headline Karoondinha Festival Benefiting Great Causes

Chance the Rapper

By Kennedi Johnson

It’s music festival season! Coachella, South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and Karoondinha. What’s that? You haven’t heard of the inaugural Karoondinha festival, yet? No worries—you have now! The festival will make its debut on July 21-23 at Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, and benefits several worthwhile non-profits.

The lineup is nothing short of spectacular, with more than 80 performing artists including Chance the Rapper, John Legend, Paramore, Leon Bridges, Young the Giant, Chromeo, Alessia Cara, the Roots, and more. There will also be a kick-off party with more live music and food on July 20. But before we delve into the music any further, let’s talk about the name.

Karoondinha, meaning “the land of shining waters,” was named by the peoples of the Seneca tribe. The land is quite the sight with more than 1,600 acres of breathtaking fields and all that comes with it: sunflowers, water caves, mountain lions, wolves, bison, bears, longhorn cattle, bighorn sheep. In fact, Karoondinha allows for festival goers to not only connect with the music, but also with its beautiful surroundings.

“Unlike many other festivals that take place near urban areas, Karoondinha is truly an immersive experience out in nature,” said the sibling Karoondinha founders Kaleena and Paul Rallis. “We designed Karoondinha to connect people: to the landscape, to each other, and to music.”

The festival is partnering with some terrific non-profits that support nature and wildlife conservation, the fight against hunger and serious illnesses, and music education. The Bestwick Foundation focuses on aiding locals who are struggling with cancer or other grave illnesses. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is dedicated to fighting America’s problem of hunger by helping those in need. It secures at least 40 million meals for Central Pennsylvania’s hungry citizens each year. The Wildlife for Everyone Foundation focuses on preserving Pennsylvanian habitats and wildlife, working to conserve its birds and mammals, provide wildlife education and outreach, conduct research, and restore damaged habitats.

To learn more about the new festival and purchase passes, click here.

Lady Gaga and Prince William Discuss Mental Illness in New Video

By James Pleasant

Pop superstar Lady Gaga and Prince William recently collaborated to discuss how to eradicate the stigma associated with mental health issues, in a video produced by the British Royal Family’s Heads Together campaign.

“There’s a lot of shame attached to mental illness,” said Gaga in the video when discussing her daily battle with mental illness. “You feel like something is wrong with you. In my life I go, ‘Oh my goodness, look at all these beautiful, wonderful things I have…I should be so happy,’ but you can’t help it if in the morning you wake up and you are so tired, you are so sad, you are so filled with anxiety and the shakes, and [revealing my mental illness] was like saying ‘this is a part of me and that’s okay.’”

During their FaceTime conversation, Prince William pointed out that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s time to remove the stigma associated with mental health problem. “It’s time that everyone speaks up and really feels very normal about mental health,” he said. “It’s the same as physical health.”

The “Born This Way” singer is well-known for speaking out against stigmas and other social issues. In December 2016, Gaga penned an open letter that revealed her diagnosis and experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“I seek to raise awareness that this mental illness affects all kinds of people, including our youth,” wrote Gaga in her letter. “I pledge not only to help our youth not feel ashamed of their own conditions, but also to lend support to those servicemen and women who suffer from PTSD.”

The Heads Together campaign, spearheaded by Prince William, Prince Harry, and Duchess Catherine, is designed to shed light on mental illness awareness, and end the negative associations and stigmas haunting those afflicted on a daily basis.

Earlier this year, Heads Together won the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year, which saw hundreds of runners racing in solidarity with people suffering from mental illness. In May, Heads Together launched a video series of interviews highlighting celebrities discussing their experiences with addiction and other mental illnesses.

About 4 million people around the world currently suffer from some type of mental illness, according to the World Health Organization. Despite available treatments, two-thirds of people with mental illness don’t seek help because of the stigma, discrimination, or financial reasons.

To learn more about Heads Together, click here.

Coachella Festival Offers Big Incentives to Festival-Goers for Going Green

Coachella-goers get big incentives for recycling

By Kennedi Johnson

It’s no surprise that this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival features an impressive array of headliners including Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar, who will descend on the famed California desert festival April 14-16 and 21-23. But just as impressive as the Coachella lineup is the festival’s commitment to environmental sustainability and getting festival-goers involved in impactful environmental initiatives.

Coachella is teaming up with the non-profit Global Inheritance to educate folks about important environmental issues facing our planet and to reduce the environmental impact of the festival. They’ve put together several creative initiatives, including the Energy FACTory exploratory museum, where people can learn how to make their own biodiesel, save money on their electric bills, and take alternatively fueled golf carts out for a spin!

They also created the now famous Carpoolchella initiative, which encourages those headed to the festival to carpool with four or more people. Those who participate not only reduce pollution by carpooling, but are also given the chance to score VIP Coachella passes for life.

Then there’s the Recycling Store, where you can trade empty bottles and cans for Coachella merchandise, ferris wheel rides, food, 2017 passes and more. All pretty sweet rewards for caring for the environment!

Animal lovers can take part in the Saving Nature Claw Machine game to learn how to sustain and rebuild animal/marine life habitats and earn points for merchandise. Meanwhile, the Polar Bear Dating Game gives you the chance to show off your ideas about saving the Arctic. If Ursus the Polar Bear is impressed, you can win a date with him and two backstage passes.

Be sure to keep an eye out for these awesome environmental initiatives during the two Coachella weekends of great music, activism, and education! Not only will you leave the festival talking about how you saw Kendrick perform live, but you just may go home emboldened and committed to environmental justice issues and sustainability.

For more information about Coachella and this year’s lineup, click here. For more information about Global Inheritance, click here.

Tenacious D, Weird Al, Members of OK Go and More to Perform ‘80s Hits at Sweet Relief Benefit Concert

Tenacious D will headline Sweet Relief's Strange 80s benefit concert

By James Pleasant

Don your best ‘80s gear and break out the Aqua Net because Sweet Relief’s Sweet 80s Benefit Concert is coming to town.

Actor Finn Wolfhard, who played Mike in the blockbuster Netflix series Stranger Things, will host Sweet Relief Musicians Fund’s inaugural “Strange 80s” benefit concert on May 14 at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, featuring performances by a slew of musicians and celebrities covering hit songs from the 1980s.

Tenacious D, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Sarah Silverman, members of OK Go, Taking Back Sunday, Velvet Revolver, Steel Panther, Filter, Anberlin, Goldfinger, Sugarcult, Anthrax, and more are set to perform — and we can only begin to guess which sweet ’80s tunes they’ll resurrect for the occasion.

TV stars Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, The Goldbergs’ Hayley Orrantia and Stranger Things’ Chelsea Telmadge will also join Wolfhard and the others in this star-studded extravaganza.

All proceeds from the concert will go toward Sweet Relief’s continuing efforts to provide financial assistance and support to musicians in need due to illness, age, or disabilities.

An array of exclusive prizes will be awarded through a Silent Auction, and 250 winners will have the opportunity to attend a rooftop after-party featuring Rain Man from Krewella.

“As a career musician, Sweet Relief came to my rescue a few years back when I was severely injured in an attack,” said Matthew Leone, Sweet Relief global ambassador and bass guitarist. “Knowing intimately the paramount value of this work, we are humbled and grateful for the caliber of artists enlisted to participate in what will unquestionably be the best party and show of the year.”

Sweet Relief has been assisting musicians in need since 1993, when the organization was founded by singer-songwriter Victoria Williams.

Click here for tickets. VIP tickets can be bought on Crowdrise.

For more information about the Sweet 80s benefit concert, click here. To learn more about Sweet Relief, click here.

Musicians from Countries on Trump’s Travel Ban List Speak Out Ahead of Performance at ContraBanned: #MusicUnites SXSW Showcase

Khaled M.

By Tamara Syed

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival has always served as a melting pot of cultural movements and musical talents, but this year’s ContraBanned: #MusicUnites showcase is bound to be an especially resonant and meaningful event. The showcase will feature a slew of musicians representing the seven Muslim-majority countries banned by President Trump’s executive order, with the aim of uniting people and building bridges through music.

The stacked lineup for the March 17 show at Austin’s Palm Door includes Khaled M., a Libyan-American rapper with Chicago roots; Mamak Khadem, a world-renowned trance artist; and Syrian-American soul-funk powerhouse Bassel & the Supernaturals; Atlanta based, Somalia-bred duo Faarrow, who deliver a heavy-hitting blend of hip-hop and pop anthems; Mohsen Namjoo, known as “the Bob Dylan of Iran”; Dena El Saffar, a multi-instrumentalist with Iraqi roots; and the mind-melding electronic soundscapes of Tehran-via-London artist Ash Koosha.

Dubbed one of CNN’s “Most Interesting People,” rapper Khaled M. pointed out that the travel ban has a negative and terrifying affect on U.S.-born citizens as well as foreign nationals. “Trump’s ban affected so many more people than just non-U.S. citizens,” he told Music for Good. “That group suffers the worst of it, but your average citizen doesn’t understand the psychological torture of being in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear.”

Khaled also touched on the underlying propaganda he sees in the executive order. “The ban creates a domino effect of fear that moves on to other marginalized or immigrant communities who worry about being next, considering the established precedent,” he said. Despite this, Khaled hopes that unifying events such as these will help shed a positive light on his Libyan heritage and bring people together. “Despite being subjected to oppression that rivals any other country, Libyans continue to be amongst the most hospitable and friendly people in the world,” he said.

Mamak Khadem

Iranian-American Mamak Khadem, who blends traditional Persian poetry and vocals with cross cultural influences of Indian, Balkan and Indonesian melodies, believes the ban is history repeating itself. “It reminded me of how the Iranian students were treated here in the U.S. during the hostage crisis of 1979,” she said. “Many students were insulted, deported, battered, and threatened. It took many years to forget and forgive those days and finally call myself an Iranian-American.”

Khadem has contributed to the advancement of music on a global scale, having taught classes and workshops in the U.S., Canada, Greece and Ireland. Not surprisingly, she believes musicians play a crucial role in the world of politics. “Music offers a language that is close to people’s hearts rather than their brain,” she said. “Music offers tools to break boundaries that politics has forced on us.”

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Whole Planet Foundation Teams Up with Shani Rose & Katie Ferrara for Tour to Support Women Entrepreneurs

(L-R) Katie Ferrara & Shani Rose team up with Whole Planet Foundation for Road Less Traveled Tour

By Laura Ferreiro

While most people may not see many similarities between independent musicians and small business owners, it’s surprising just how many things they have in common. Independent musicians and entrepreneurs must both find creative ways of using their talents to establish their careers and generate income for themselves and their families, both need to promote their work to potential audiences and customers, and there’s no denying that they often encounter many obstacles along the way that they need to overcome in order to succeed.

These similarities were immediately apparent to singer-songwriters Shani Rose and Katie Ferrara, who are embarking on the Road Less Traveled Tour in partnership with Whole Planet Foundation to support their efforts to alleviate poverty by providing microloans to entrepreneurs around the world. The tour supports the Foundation’s Musicians for Microcredit program, which gives people the chance to create or expand home-based businesses and lift themselves out of poverty. “As woman entrepreneurs in the music industry, we really connected with the work Whole Planet Foundation does with women entrepreneurs around the world, helping them kick-start their dreams and fund their businesses,” Rose told Music for Good.

The tour kicks off in their hometown of Los Angeles on March 8, and will hit cities including Phoenix and Tucson, culminating in two performances at the South by Southwest Festival March 17 and 18. They will play free shows at Whole Foods Market locations in each city, bringing attention to the Musicians for Microcredit program and donating a portion of their merchandise sales to help a family access a loan.

Whole Planet Foundation was excited to help facilitate Rose and Ferrara’s Road Less Traveled tour. “Musicians, like the entrepreneurs who receive microcredit loans, are doing something they love and might need some help along the way,” said Olivia Hayden, Digital Fundraising Specialist for Whole Planet Foundation.

“Shani and Katie are thinking outside the box and perhaps opening doors for more musicians to do the same,” Hayden added. “They’re business women who want to inspire women to follow their dreams. They’re creating their own success and want to encourage other entrepreneurial women all over the world to create their own success. So we wanted to help.”

Rose said that she and Ferrara immediately liked the idea of partnering with Whole Planet Foundation after being approached by the foundation to collaborate on the Musicians for Microcredit program. “Music is a great conveyor of messages and way to let people know about things, so I thought it was a great idea for them to create this partnership,” Rose said. “I was looking for a way to volunteer and give back and do something that was bigger than me and my music, so it came at the exact right time.”

What’s more, Rose’s song “Stronger Together” seemed to embody one of the Foundation’s primary missions of working together to support one another and make each other stronger. Many of Whole Planet Foundation’s microfinance partners utilize the Grameen method of lending, where borrowers belong to solidarity groups who meet once per week to make their loan repayments, ask questions, and share business advice. Rather than trying to make it alone, these borrowers are stronger together as they are able to support each other through their weekly meetings and relationships with other entrepreneurs.

For complete Road Less Traveled tour dates, click here. To learn more about the Whole Planet Foundation, click here, and the Musicians for Microcredit program, click here.