Rock for Relay
With four bands and no cover charge, the first Rock for Relay benefit concert could have turned out to be an expensive event. But thanks to the generosity of performers and the people at Buffington’s, the concert was a success.
Hosted by WGUR, the concert stemmed from the passion to raise money for Relay for Life and an equal passion for music. Senior mass communication major Jeff Sterling took over the position of Concert Coordinator in January, and along with WGUR Programming Director and senior mass communication major Courtney Hamlett, they combined their efforts to create the benefit concert.
“I have wanted to do this concert for the past three years,” Hamlett said. “I am a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a community service sorority, and we have done Relay for Life every year since I’ve been at Georgia College. Volunteer work has always been close to my heart, and I wanted to combine my passion for that, along with my passion for music, and put the two together for a great cause.”
After talking to the people of Buffington’s and finalizing the plan to not have a cover charge, various bands were asked to play the concert on one condition — it needed to be free of charge. For some people, this would be an automatic turn off, but thankfully four bands stepped up: The White Kids, Holiday Away, Louise Warren and the Johnson Braxton Band.
“(Jeff Sterling) asked if we would like to play at Rock for Relay, and we were stoked to be a part of such a wonderful, well thought out event,” said Ryan Walden, lead singer for Holiday Away. “All of the bands were amazing and definitely brought life to the stage as well as the crowd. We are proud to have been a part of the show and hope to bring more of our music and entertainment back to the Georgia College community.”
Although there was no cover charge, donations were accepted, and raffle tickets were sold for $1. Since the performers played for free, all money made went to the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.
“I don’t know how much money was made … I imagine it’s a fairly modest amount because donations were optional,” Sterling explained. “ … thanks to the generosity of the performers, and Claire from Buffington’s, I was able to put on the whole concert for under $80.”
One of the biggest issues they ran into was that the Corey Smith concert was scheduled for the same night, right around the corner at Capital City. But Hamlett and Sterling were still happy with the turnout.
“ … turnout was much better than I expected in light of the other show,” Sterling said. “I was always pretty adamant about not having a cover charge, and I’m especially glad that I stuck to that in light of the other event downtown that night.”
“We started to gather a bigger crowd throughout the night as more people filled the bar,” Hamlett stated. “Unfortunately, we didn’t raise as much money as I had hoped for the charity, but I am hoping to perhaps do another show next year for it and get a bigger crowd to gather more donations for Relay for Life.”
Graham Williams, junior mass communication major and lead singer for The White Kids, thoroughly enjoyed playing at the benefit concert.
“It was a lot of fun and an overall good cause,” Williams said. I knew Jeff Sterling from class and have played music with him before so when he said he was putting together a concert for Relay for Life I was more than willing to help out. It was a great time overall, and I think the spectators enjoyed themselves. I just hope a lot of money was raised for the cause.”
Despite the competing Corey Smith concert and being heckled by an inebriated man who wanted to buy a raffle ticket with his debit card, Sterling was not deterred away from planning another benefit concert.
“It’s a complicated proposition to get the right performers, at the right venue, on the right night, to bring out the maximum amount of people,” Sterling said. “But I’m always open to trying new formulas, and as the year goes on I’m sure I’ll keep working on stuff to try and hold bigger, better events.”