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Local bands, businesses host fundraiser for charity

BY JESSICA CARBINO | FEBRUARY 17, 2011 7:20 AM

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A group of local bands if taking “will play for food” to a whole new level.

For the first time, several local businesses and bands are helping the Johnson County Crisis Center Food Bank continue to feed community members during this time of need.

BandwithRadio, a website that features a variety of music available to stream or download, will team with RAYGUN, 103 E. College St., to hold a charity event with proceeds going to the Food Bank. The fundraiser will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. Admission is $6 with discounts available for wearing an event T-shirt or bringing a canned-food item.

Five musical groups, including the Grand Tetons, Nikki Lunden, Caleb Ryder, Item 9 & the Mad Hatters, and FanOffBirdSafe, will perform during the evening.

Beginning at noon, all the bands will appear at RAYGUN to autograph shirts made for the event, and five free downloads will be awarded to the first 50 people who attend. A PA system will play BandwithRadio all day through the Pedestrian Mall so people can hear how the bands sound.

“It’s going be one [heck] of a party,” said Pete Lower, a guitarist for Item 9 and the Mad Hatters. “We’re just glad to be a part of it.”

A year ago, Tony Vanden Bush, a cofounder of BandwithRadio, and Mike Drapper, the owner of RAYGUN, talked about helping each other out with their new businesses. The goal was to create an event focusing on local music to draw the community’s attention.

With the help of Lunden, the event went from being an opportunity for them to promote themselves to a way to help the less fortunate in Iowa City. She suggested giving the money raised to a local charity, specifically the Food Bank. She has done charity events in the past with food organizations and has seen how much it helps.

“The least we can do with our music is to create events that help put back into the community,” she said. “And this is a great way of doing that.”

Not only are the bands benefiting the Food Bank by volunteering their time, they are aiding RAYGUN is as well.

“I think that’s the main advantage of having a small company,” Drapper said. “You can really localize what you do and contribute on a level that the people you’re contributing to really notice.”

Food banks don’t have as much support as other charities in the area, which makes giving the local organization the proceeds “a no-brainer,” Vanden Bush said.

And the event is accepted with open arms.

“We’re very grateful,” said Beth Ritter Ruback, the communications and development director for the Food Bank. “It’s always wonderful when someone from the community thinks of us.”

The money donated to the Food Bank will go toward the expense of distributing 3,000 bags of food delivered to local households each month.

In addition to helping the Food Bank, Drapper said he hopes to expand the arts community in Iowa City. Vanden Bush agrees.

“We hope people will come out to support local music,” he said.


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