Moved by the recent devastation of the Sonoma County fires, UCSB student Collin McCrary and his newly-formed Santa Barbara Arts Collective hosted a concert to raise funds for affected UCSB students on Saturday, Oct. 21. The show ultimately raised over $2,400 for the Redwood Credit Union in Sonoma County to directly support community rebuilding efforts.
Attendees of the “Sonoma County Concert for Care” were asked for a five dollar donation at the door and enjoyed music from Mitchell Solkov on guitar and Alex Bumpers as DJ. Solkov, a fourth year Ethnomusicology major, lost his Northern California home. Second year student Savannah Bertrand also suffered damages to her family’s property. The two students are close friends of the event’s organizers, who offered their own backyard as a venue for a concert they believed would only attract a few hundred friends.
Solkov felt that participating in this benefit concert was helpful in coping with the loss felt by his family and community. In an interview with The Bottom Line after the show, Solkov said, “I also know there are a lot of other kids down here that lost their homes too, so giving them a space to feel a sort of solidarity was a really important part of the event.” He added, “holding this event was really important for me to feel like I was doing something, at least, to make a difference.”
Partygoers danced until midnight to the lively set spun by Bumpers, which included mixes of artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat. Those who donated more than 5 dollars at entry were entered into a raffle to win Patagonia brand t-shirts, and dozens of chocolate chip cookies donated by local business I.V. Drip were sold for a dollar each as part of the fundraising efforts.
The concert was decorated with woven blankets and funky thrifted lamps. Posters were hand-painted by Ruby Korpics, a third year environmental studies student, who contributed artwork as a way to give back whatever she could. Her homemade chandeliers, creatively fashioned from old bike tires and string lights, hung from an oak tree in the center of the yard for ambience. Erica Keamy, a fourth year biopsychology major, said the concert reminded her of “how special the UCSB community is” for coming together that night.
The event’s turnout was “well beyond what I could have imagined”, said Bumpers, a third year history of public policy major. “I knew that a lot of our friends would show up, but having nearly 500 people come through by the end of the night was just another level. We could not be more thankful.” Bumpers also added that the concert made him feel closer to his community, using his talent as a DJ to raise awareness about a serious subject as well as help out his friends in need.
Collin McCrary, a third year music major, organized the Santa Barbara Arts Collective this summer after seeing a lack of funding for exciting music and arts projects in the area. The group’s Facebook page states its purpose as a “open conglomerate of like-minded individuals, set on creating a space where diverse art, education, and honest artistic vision can shine.”
The Collective has already successfully hosted one music event, inviting the avant-garde jazz band Off Cell to play a professionally recorded set this past September in McCrary’s Isla Vista home. “This was absolutely the coolest, and most rewarding, thing that has ever come out of my two-year DJing career,” Bumpers said. “And it definitely won’t be the last time that I team up with the Santa Barbara Arts Collective to create something special.”