It's been more than three weeks since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, taking 170,000 lives (and possibly many more) and decimating the infrastructure of the already poverty-stricken island nation. There's been an outpouring of donations and other support from not just the neighboring United States, but also from around the world, to help the country.The stories surrounding the earthquake, most of them heartbreaking, have flooded the media, and the phrase "Text Haiti to 90999... " has become omnipresent. But as time goes by, the news reports will begin to fade. According to Jesse Roberts, founder of the locally based humanitarian non-profit, Rise Up International, Haiti's need for aid will endure.
So Rise Up has organized the Haiti Benefit Show, the first installment of what Roberts hopes becomes a series of concerts (another is already slated for Feb. 12) that will send all proceeds to help the people of Haiti. Sunday night's show - yes, Roberts is aware that it's Super Bowl Sunday - will benefit Doctor's Without Borders, the medical organization that is already on the ground helping Haitians in need.
"I think above and beyond this first show, we'd love to see if other people would like to help out with other events. Sometimes when these things like this happen, it's the event of the week and then people forget," says Roberts, whose ongoing work with Rise Up has previously been focused on areas in Central America and India.
+Roberts has assembled a stacked lineup for the show that features prominent local acts, as well as a few out-of-towners. As far as locals go, two of Bend's most notable bands will be on the bill. There's a relatively rare in-town Person People performance, as well as an appearance from the increasingly notable Larry and His Flask. Rounding out the local lineup is Leif James and the Struggle, the blues-rock band comprised of skilled Bend-area players.
Roberts says it wasn't difficult to get these musicians to donate their skills.
"Jason Graham [aka Mosley Wotta of Person People] is a good friend and then I called up Leif James and wanted to see what we could do. Between those two guys we got the lineup together pretty quickly," says Roberts.
The most intriguing out-of-town act comes in the form of Lakes, which is the project of Atascadero, California-based Seth Roberts who happens to be Jesse Roberts' brother. The music is a highly emotive brand of poppy indie rock with a peppering of folk influences tossed in - think older Death Cab For Cutie. Also on the bill is the youthful Plano, Texas, duo Haylee & Amanda and the slam poetry of Manifest Destiny.
Again, the show is on Super Bowl Sunday, which Roberts didn't initially realize when he started the wheels turning on the benefit show. Still, he says that by the time the game wraps up, the headliners will have yet to take the stage, letting folks engage in some post-Super Bowl philanthropy.
While that the talk about Haiti may be subsiding, Roberts says there remains plenty to be done in the ravaged area. And this means that attending a show and paying the $5 cover will make a difference.
"There's a lot of underlying issues with Haiti. Maybe this is a chance to look at
those things," says Roberts, "I think people have been really touched and moved by this."
Haiti Benefit Concert: Person People, Larry and His Flask, Leif James & the Struggle, The Lakes, Haylee & Amanda, Manifestdestiny
4pm doors. Sunday, February 7.
Domino Room, 51 NW Greenwood Ave. $5. All ages.