One day after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Ashland musician Greg Frederick was already conjuring plans for sending aid to the suffering nation. Frederick, with a dozen other local musicians and bands performed Thursday night at Ashland Historic Armory to raise money for the victims in Haiti.
One week ago Fredrick was online promoting his band the Rogue Suspects, when he heard the outcry for help in Haiti. Frederick then launched the idea of holding a benefit concert to send aid to the Haitian refugees.
"What we're trying to do is make a difference," Frederick said the night of the concert, "what they need more than anything now is money."
Frederick's idea was to hold a benefit concert in cooperation with Red Cross. He wanted to send money to the people suffering in Haiti without the financial hassle.
"One hundred percent of the profit made tonight will go to the Red Cross," Frederick said, "and 100% of that goes directly to the Haiti fund."
This impromptu collaboration didn't expect a huge turnout. Frederick sought out dozens of local bands and artists to play at the benefit. Frederick's call to perform brought more artists than expected. Bands and artists from all over the Rogue Valley responded to Frederick, far more than could play in one night,
"We could play do this for three nights" Frederick said between performances. "People were just coming out of the walls."
Frederick expressed his surprise at the response, having no idea where any of these bands or funds would come from. Everything for the concert was donated, Frederick said.
After more than four hours of jazz, blues, folk, and rock, the final total in donations was $12,525.21. The precise number of people that showed up for the concert is still unknown. Red Cross and armory staff estimated a range of 500 to over 1000 people.
The Rogue Suspects headlined at the Relief Benefit Concert. They have performed in Ashland for 10 years. Many other Ashland artists joined the Suspects Thursday night played to pledge support to Haiti, notably One Horse Shy, Bohemia Soul, Salsa Brava, The Frankie Hernandez Band, Smoky Red, Bret Levick, Alice Micele, Ed Dunsavage, Annie MacIntyre, and the Dancing People Company. Beside the plethora of musicians, New York Times bestselling author Gary Zukav and local artist Nikita Gearing spoke words of comfort to the audience about the situation in Haiti.
Phill Gonzales, a Red Cross volunteer, shared his gratitude with the audience. He has been working with the Red Cross since September 11, 2001, when he was first deployed in New York.
"I've never seen such a generous bunch of people as I've seen in Ashland," Gonzales said.