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Two benefit concerts will help homeless

Musicians will perform in St. Petersburg and Tampa to help Tent City residents and others.

Published February 25, 2007


A variety of local musicians are uniting to organize two concerts in the growing effort to help the homeless in the Tampa Bay area.

The first of the benefit concerts will be held at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on March 4. A week later, on March 11, another concert will be held at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa.

Proceeds for both concerts will go to local organizations that focus on helping the homeless.

The Rev. Bruce Wright, a local homeless advocate and the founder of The Refuge, will use the proceeds of the concerts to help those in need at Tent City by providing supplies as well as media and Web site assistance. He is also coordinating the concert at the State Theatre.

"We had some artists that were beginning to write songs about the situation," Wright said.

Matthew Bistok is one of the local musicians who, along with his band, Fall On Purpose, wrote a song about Tent City and will perform it during the concert. Bistok will also be performing with his other band, Polka Cowboyz.

They are glad to help raise money for a good cause, he said. "Bruce called me and told me about the show, and I was really happy that we were going to be able to do something like that," Bistok said.

The concert at the State Theatre will include Bistok's bands and a variety of other artists, ranging from hip-hop and rock to Celtic music. Some of the residents of Tent City have been invited to perform between acts and may include poetry readings.

The concert at the State Theatre begins at 5 p.m. and is open to all ages. Event organizers are planning to schedule the hard rock and metal groups for later in the evening.

The show will be recorded, and DVDs and CDs will be available through Squatter Records, with proceeds from those sales also going to benefit the homeless.

If you miss that show at the State Theatre, there is also the Concert for Change benefit for the homeless at Skipper's Smokehouse.

The Concert for Change is being organized by Elaine Nichols, who is also involved with activism in Tent City, and Karen Lowman, who runs the Sacred Grounds Coffee House in Tampa.

Nichols and Lowman are intent on helping the homeless and say they see this as a good way to provide support for the organizations serving them. "We're all in this for the cause," Lowman said, "Because the homeless are people too."

The proceeds of the Concert for Change will go to The Refuge and Project Downtown, another organization that benefits the homeless. More than 10 acts will offer a variety of music from eclectic acoustic rock to '60s covers. The concert will start at 1 p.m. and welcomes all ages.

"Its very family friendly," Nichols said, "The bands are great young musicians. There's all different kinds of music."

Nick Johnson can be reached at or 893-8215.


March 4

Show starts at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $10

State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg 33701

727 895-3045


March 11

Show starts at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $12, or $10 with a student ID.

Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa 33613

(813) 975-0777, ext. 30 for ticket information

[Last modified February 24, 2007, 20:25:20]

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