Music and community collide with Concerts 4 Charity
A group of college friends conceived of an idea based on a passion: produce concerts that give back to the community. Formed in 1999, Concerts 4 Charity (C4C) obtained official 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2002, and has since expanded from its humble beginnings in Worcester, Massachusetts to several locations across the country, following the initial founders as they dispersed after graduating. Along with Worcester, chapters are now present in Portland, Maine; Ashland, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and Sacramento, California.
The Sacramento Chapter, run by founding member Clay Nutting, focuses on causes he is devoted to: music, arts education, and supporting the local music community. Clay says, “I want kids to have an opportunity to participate in the arts, even if it’s only a handful at a time. And I want artists to succeed. I want artists to have platforms for what they love to do, and in turn inspire the community through their creativity.”
Concerts 4 Charity strives to produce at least one or two concerts per month (sometimes more, sometimes less) and, Clay says, “The formula is pretty simple: I put on shows and use the money to start or support music and/or art programs, or I give it all away to the artists.” March has already seen a Beer Week show at Bows & Arrows featuring The Golden Cadillacs, Hot Tar Roofers, and Noah Nelson; La Sera & Cold Showers (also at Bows); and Vetiver, Two Sheds, and Not An Airplane at Blue Lamp.
Sacramento is important to Clay, and his view on the ultimate benefit of C4C to the Sacramento community is three-fold: “First, if the money goes to a kid to get them involved in the arts, who know what kinds of doors that exposure is opening up for them. Second, if the money goes to the artists, I know they are getting paid for what they love to do (which sadly doesn’t happen all the time), and I can guarantee you that money is going right back into the local economy. Third, people get to see a great show. I can’t tell you how important it is to expose our community to more live music and art. The more they are exposed to it, the more likely they are to come out and support the creative community again.“
In addition to putting on a regular shows, Concerts 4 Charity also collaborates on producing a couple larger, annual events: the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival (SEMF) in May and Launch in July, both of which are set to be bigger and better in 2012 than years prior. SEMF is moving from its previous home at TownHouse to Harlow’s and the adjacent Momo Lounge, meaning it will be able to accommodate more artists and more attendees. This move is along the lines of SEMF’s goal “to put on a great festival that encourages artists to come to Sacramento more often, gives them a sense of what our music community is capable of, and inspires our music community by putting on a really rad show,” Clay says. Launch is expanding from a one day event to a multi-day excursion and will include a sequence of curated events across Midtown & Downtown before culminating in a huge music and art festival on July 28. Clay says the idea is to “build a mini SXSW for Sacramento with diverse acts, music, art, and design.”
Clay works full-time for marketing firm 3Fold Communications, who is fully supportive of his “hobby,” and no matter how hectic his schedule or how limited his time, C4C stays strong and true to its mission. Clay says, “At one time I counted over 400 kids sponsored through our programs, but I stopped counting…I just keep raising a few bucks and giving it away.”
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