This year's Roast began with a bang, quite literally, as my stopped car still managed to get hit in the parking lot of Irvine's Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre upon arrival last Saturday.
Despite the setback, I still made it in time to catch LA locals gone national, Foster The People, who were followed by sets in the day from artists including Cage The Elephant, Bad Religion, Rise Against, Young The Giant, The Strokes, a surprise performance from Foo Fighters, Rise Against and headliners Linkin Park to name a few.
While they always pull together impressive lineups, perhaps a lesser known fact about KROQ's annual Weenie Roast concert is that since the start in 1993, proceeds have gone to support various nonprofit organizations. This year marked no exception with tickets benefiting Surfrider Foundation, Heal The Bay and Music For Relief.
Tucked somewhere around the ILoveVagina.com booth and the Jose Cuervo banana-eating contest, the three beneficiaries made their home. Loaded with friendly volunteers, tables of information, giveaways and more, each organization worked to educate the concert-goers about the work they're doing.
In case you missed it, here's what I've learned:
No surprise they were here.
Not only was Music For Relief started by Linkin Park, but its been all too relevant recently with programs like Download to Donate that were put together to incentivize fans to contribute to recovery efforts following the earthquakes in both Haiti and Japan.
Call me biased, but as disasters seem to be happening with more frequency and heightened intensity, I feel it's an incredible service for the music industry to have a go-to organization that they can trust in these situations -- this is the role of Music For Relief.
In addition to working year-round on developing the ability to respond more efficiently and effectively in emergencies, MFR also focuses on issues of climate change. At the Weenie Roast booth they talked to concertgoers about MFR's tree-planting efforts in Southern CA, primarily in Sylmar, where they have replanted more than 100 trees in Stetson Ranch Park that were burned in the 2008 Sylmar wildfire.
With a history of ongoing support from artists like Pearl Jam, Incubus, Blink-182, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson (i.e. the KROQ playlist), it's also no surprise that Surfrider was selected as a beneficiary this year as well as several other years in the past.
What started with three people in Malibu 25 years ago, has grown into a widespread, national (and somewhat international) organization.
With their mission defined as "the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network," Surfrider has claimed over 160 victories with campaign themes ranging from Beach Access, Coastal Preservation, Clean Water, Ocean Ecosystems, Rise Above Plastics and Know Your H2O.
Concert attendees learned about Surfrider's International Surfing Day coming up on June 20th, which consists of 200 separate events in over 25 countries, as well as received some sweet shades and temporary tattoos for stopping by.
Heal The Bay:
I was first introduced to the Santa Monica-based Heal The Bay during a Venice Beach cleanup a couple years back. However, you may know them from Coastal Clean Up Day, the largest volunteer day on the planet, as they've been coordinating this annually for the past 26 years in Los Angeles.
Weenie Roasters were informed about their Nothin' But Sand monthly cleanup.
Volunteers that take a test drive during any Nothin' But Sand cleanup this summer will be automatically entered for a chance to win a new eco-friendly Ford. Additionally, Ford will donate $50 to Heal the Bay on your behalf for each test drive.
Overall, traffic seemed pretty steady for these groups throughout the day, but it's a constant challenge for nonprofits trying to connect with fans at live music events so I'm curious -- how would you like to be engaged at a concert?
I, for one, can't stand the waiting outside of Whole Foods, guilting you into stopping when you just want to go home and eat approach to activism, but I know there's also got to be a more effective method than just putting information on a table. What would you suggest?
Anyway, fundraising totals have not yet been released, but based on previous years I would speculate they brought in around six figures. Hats off to KROQ for supporting such worthy causes 18 years in a row.