The Band Together Bay Area benefit concert couldn’t have a more apt name. Since the event was announced just 10 days ago, half a dozen top musical acts, backed by nearly 50 corporate sponsors, have joined forces to stage a gigantic fundraiser Thursday at AT&T Park, raising more than $9 million for fire victims already.
Note: From lineup to streaming information, here's everything you need to know about the Nov. 9 benefit concert.
What makes this event even more remarkable is that backers started putting their plans together just a bit more two weeks after the North Bay was struck by massive wildfires, while flames were still burning.
The show boasts big names with local ties, including East Bay-based heavy metal superstars Metallica and veterans of the Grateful Dead performing in the band Dead & Company.
Longtime Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, whose Occidental home was spared by the recent wildfires, called together the members of Dead & Company and volunteered to play at the Band Together show as soon as he heard about it.
“I said to my bandmates, ‘Let’s go; let’s do this,’ and I didn’t have to ask twice,” he said. “I’ve never lost everything in a fire, so I can’t really speak to what it means when you lose your whole life’s memories. It’s more than just trinkets or photographs. It stands for something much deeper.”
Music can heal the soul, Hart said, which could be every bit as important as raising money for fire victims at the AT&T Park show.
“The place will be full of good energy,” he said. “We hope to raise everyone’s spirits.”
Hart and his wife, Caryl Hart, former head of Sonoma County Regional Parks, were in Sonoma County during the fires, taking food to fire evacuees at Analy High School and volunteering in other ways, he said.
“It’s a testament to all of Sonoma County that people came together to take care of each other,” he added. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
Dead & Company also includes drummer Bill Kreutzmann and guitarist Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, as well as guitarist John Mayer, bassist and drummer Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
“Everybody in the band is in different parts of the world, so it was real stretch to come out here together to do this benefit, and I am grateful to them for that,” Hart said. “We all need to get back to New York. We’re starting a tour starting at Madison Square Garden a few days after the benefit in San Francisco.” Dead & Company will go on to perform at the New York City venue Nov. 12 and 14.
The full roster of acts playing the Band Together concert also features Berkeley punk band Rancid, Oakland singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq, Oakland rapper G-Eazy and rocker Dave Matthews, to be joined by Tim Reynolds, lead guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band.
But this is one show when the audience will be just as interesting as the performers onstage.
Working through North Bay charities and nonprofits contributing to local recovery efforts following the recent wildfires, concert organizers have set aside prime seats and free tickets for fire survivors and first responders.
One of the fans in the crowd at San Francisco’s AT&T Park will be Amber McCarthy-Serrano, 35, a working single mother of two, who lost her home in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood to the Tubbs Fire in the early morning hours of Oct. 9.
“I didn’t have time to grab anything from our home. I ran out with my two kids and no shoes on my feet. I am a huge Metallica fan, and lost everything, including old concert tickets and their CDs,” she said.
“When I heard about the benefit concert, I was beyond excited to have the opportunity to see my favorite band again, and escape all the craziness that has become our new reality, even if it’s just for a few hours,” McCarthy-Serrano said. “A big thank-you to the concert organizers and all of the bands taking time to bring some light to a world turned dark.”
There will be younger fans in the crowd at Band Together, too, including Santa Rosa students Ty Hawkins and his best-friend Willie Maples, both 18, and both football players for Rincon Valley Christian School. The Maples family lost its home on Linda Lane the first day of the Tubbs Fire and found refuge at the Hawkins home.
“This concert won’t bring their home back,” said Ty’s mother, Kim Hawkins, “but it reminds Willie that there are people out there that care. It also gives these two boys a chance to just be teenage boys, to forget the worry and stress of the last three weeks and enjoy some music for a good cause.”
The concert is underwritten by nearly 50 prominent Bay Area corporate sponsors who have already raised more than $9 million for North Bay fire relief. And 100 percent of the money raised by ticket sales will go to the special emergency relief fund established by San Francisco nonprofit Tipping Point Community. Ticketmaster also is donating all processing fees.
The fund will be used to address urgent needs including temporary housing, food, education and healthcare, as well as rebuilding, in fire-ravaged North Bay communities.
Free tickets for first responders and fire victims were distributed through service providers in the North Bay such as Catholic Charities, who are working directly with the first responders and individuals impacted by fires. Additionally, the San Francisco Giants community relations department handled some individual situations on a case-by-case basis.
The concert is being be co-produced by LiveNation and Another Planet Entertainment. The list of sponsors includes Facebook, Gap Inc., Twitter, StubHub, as well as Kaiser Permanente, Google, the San Francisco Giants, Twilio and Salesforce.
Tipping Point Community’s fire relief funds will be directed to North Bay community foundations, service providers and government partners supporting the low-income communities hit hardest by the wildfires.
Beneficiaries include Community Foundation Sonoma County, Napa Valley Community Foundation, and the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund as part of the North Bay Fire Relief Fund established by The Press Democrat, State Sen. Mike McGuire, Catholic Charities and others.
All the recent North Bay wildfires together have burned an estimated 201,000 acres and nearly 8,000 structures in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and Solano counties, causing 42 deaths and displacing tens of thousands of residents.
You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @danarts.