More than 30 local musicians will perform over the course of eight hours tonight, all to raise money for relief efforts taking place on the East Coast following Superstorm Sandy. The Shakedown Bar in Vail hosts the Vail Rocks for Jersey benefit tonight from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The event is being organized in large part by Scotty Stoughton, a former local musician who recently relocated to Los Angeles. Stoughton grew up on Long Beach Island and the idea for this fundraiser was born following the storm while he was holed up in a hotel room about 60 miles from the beach, waiting to be let back onto the island to assess the damage. A few weeks before the hurricane, Stoughton accepted a position on the advisory board for All Hands Volunteers, a nonprofit Stoughton has been involved with since the disaster in Haiti. The group is dedicated to empowering disaster relief volunteers around the world.
"One of the things we'd been talking about was to try and figure out how to keep excitmeent up around nonprofits during nondisaster times," Stoughton said. "Then, a few weeks later, I'm back on the phone with them trying to mobilize efforts in my hometown. It was very odd."
Even before the hurricane, Stoughton had planned on coming back to Vail this week for a show with his band, Bonfire Dub, at Shakedown Bar. When he approached bar owner Scott Rednor, who also grew up on Long Beach Island, about turning the gig into a fundraiser, Rednor was "on board the second I mentioned it," Stoughton said. "He even cut a vacation short to be here. He's a great musician and he's been a really great move forward on this event."
As always, local musicians jumped on board for the fundraiser immediately as well, Stoughton said.
"I put the feelers out and immediately the Vail community responded, especially the Vail music community, which always does.'
In fact so many people responded that the most challenging part of the evening will be finding enough space for everyone.
"I have about 30 artists coming in and out all day," Stoughton said. With that in mind, he's encouraging people come early - the music starts at 6 p.m. today - and stay late.
Where the money will go
Along with local musicians, local music venues and restaurants have donated items for a raffle. Agave, the Vail Ale House (going in where the Sandbar used to be located), the Vilar Center, State Bridge Amphitheater and even 320 South in Breckenridge have each donated one season pass, good for every show this winter, to the raffle. Samana Lounge will donate tickets to a show. Avon Bakery donated food for the event and Larkspur restaurant in Vail donated a private chef's table for six people with wine and food pairings for the raffle. "That's a killer prize," Stoughton said. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and available at the venue as well as at Sticky Fingers in Minturn, Route 6 in Eagle-Vail, Avon Deli, Agave and Loaded Joe's in Avon and Gore Range Brewery and Cafe 163 in Edwards.
Stoughton hopes to raise between $6,000 to $7,000. Aside from minimal expenses - "a hotel room and a little bit of travel," he said - 100 percent of the net proceeds will likely be split between All Hands Volunteers and another non profit working specifically on Long Beach Island, Stoughton said, though he's not exactly sure who yet.
"Currently, I am assessing the most effective direct benefactor on the Island," Stoughton said. "Additionally, a percentage of the donation will be ear marked for All Hands Volunteers who are currently assisting and mobilize efforts in the New York and the New Jersey area. Since Long Beach Island did not open for some time following the storm, All Hands had to dig into available opportunities, which included coordinating with New Jersey volunteer and (non profit organization) efforts, plus extensive support to Staten Island. At this point I'm vetting (non profits) specifically assisting in my home town; I'm also working with town officials to ensure the funds will be delivered most effectively."