Northwest musicians are nothing if not community-based -- just ask any local performer who they have to thank for their success, and they'll be quick to name off bands, bookers and venues who have helped them along the way -- but recently, the Puget Sound has seen an influx of for-charity concerts and performances. Enter SMooCH (Seattle Musicians for Children's Hospital), now in its second year, a benefit concert which directly helps kids in need.
On December 14, musicians will gather to play a benefit show for Seattle Children's Hospital. 100% of the funds from the show will go to paying for uncompensated care at the hospital, whose mission statement includes helping children regardless of their family's ability to pay for the cost of care.
According to Children's Hospital, about 60% of patients and families don't have the funds for the care they require.
The decision to donate a performance was an easy one for Portland-based the Helio Sequence.
"It’s such a great cause. We were just like 'yeah, count us in,'" says vocalist Brandon Summers.
In addition to the Helio Sequence, northwest acts like The Lonely Forest, Allen Stone and Shelby Earl will be performing. There's also going to be a special guest.
"It's pretty big," says Summers, who said he knew who it was, but wouldn't tell who it might be.
SMooCH is in good company, and seems to be part of a trend; in the last year, multiple benefit concerts and performances have donated funds to causes like Northwest Harvest, Gilda's Club, King County Parks and the Vera Project. Local record labels Sub Pop and Barsuk, both of whom celebrated big anniversaries this year, organized events wherein the proceeds went to non-profit organizations.
Meanwhile, musicians themselves have also been spurred to help out where they can.
Back in April, SMooCH headliners Allen Stone and Shelby Earl joined The Long Winters' John Roderick to raise money after their friend, singer-songwriter Kris Orlowski, had much of his equipment stolen. Much of the gear was found just before the show, so the funds were instead given to the non-profit MusiCares. Similarly, after surf-rock group La Luz lost much of their gear and sustained injuries in a car accident earlier this month, hip-hop artist RA Scion donated the proceeds of his album release party to helping them get back on their feet.
Which doesn't surprise Summers one bit -- after all, musicians and community organizers are often in the same boat.
"A band is a really independent thing," Summers explains, "and people who start non-profits are kind of the same way. It’s about giving and groups. There’s a definitely a connection between music and giving back."