Pittsburgh musicians show support for Palestine with Gaza Benefit Show at Spirit | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh musicians show support for Palestinian refugees with benefit show at Spirit

click to enlarge Pittsburgh musicians show support for Palestinian refugees with benefit show at Spirit
CP Photo: Amanda Waltz
Proceeds from a benefit show at Spirit will go to aid refugees in the West Bank and Gaza displaced by the Israel-Hamas war.

The Gaza Benefit Show, taking place Thu., Feb.1 at the Lawrenceville venue, features a lineup of five Pittsburgh music scene staples. All proceeds will go to Anera, a multinational refugee aid organization with a strong presence in Palestinian territories, according to Edwin Everhart, an organizer for the event.

Everhart tells Pittsburgh City Paper that the event is not politically rooted, but it’s his hope it will add pressure on Israel to stop the “genocide” on the residents of Palestinian territories.

"A genocide is happening, and it does not need to be happening, and there are things that could be done to stop it," Everhart says. "This is a benefit show. It's not a pressure campaign. But we're hoping that people notice and contribute to ending that genocide in whatever way they can."

May Day Marching Band, a music group that plays a mix of dance and protest music, will be joined by local jazz singer Phat Man Dee, glam-rock band Glamphibians, Mossmoth, and DJ Ron Mist.

Attendees can also get inked with flash art inspired by the event or participate in a raffle for a chance to win prizes ranging from artisan leather works to a two-hour house cleaning. The Big Idea Bookstore & Café, Nihil Distro, and others will be onsite offering booklets, stickers, and more.

The 21-and-over show has a pay-what-you-can ticket price with a suggested donation between $10 and $20, but the event description assures that "no one will be turned away for lack of funds."

Everhart, who is also a clarinet player in May Day, says the benefit show was spawned out of conversations amongst his fellow band members looking to put on a benefit show to support refugees in Gaza. ReliefWeb, a humanitarian information service provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reports that, as of Jan. 20, there are an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced persons in the Palestinian city.

"We're trying, with this, to help people materially with resources, but also raise the profile of the people who are suffering now and show that many people think that this killing should stop," Everhart says.
click to enlarge Pittsburgh musicians show support for Palestinian refugees with benefit show at Spirit
CP Photo: Dontae Washington
The Pittsburgh Labor Choir performing with the May Day Marching Band at Pittonkatonk on Sat., May 14, 2022.
Derek Madsen, the chief development officer of Anera, tells City Paper that all donations to the organization, including those through the Gaza Benefit Show, will either buy food to be distributed to refugees, fund staff who cook and transport the food, or cover the coordination and delivery costs of medical supplies.

Anera refugee aid efforts are spread across Palestinian territories, Jordan, and Lebanon. But with the Hamas attack in October of last year and subsequent military retaliation by Israel, Madsen says Anera focused its resources in Gaza and the West Bank.

"There's so much displacement, so much need, so it's much larger than any humanitarian aid response that we've done in our history, but it's also proportionate to the need," Madsen says. "We just haven't seen this kind of destruction and this many casualties."

Anera has received at least $35 million in support from institutional and individual funders since the onset of the Hamas-Israel War and has given over 13.5 million meals, along with water and medical supplies, to those impacted in Gaza and the West Bank, Madsen says.

"So when you look at small donations — people coming to donate the proceeds of a show like this — that's just as important as these other really large donations because it takes so many resources to deliver this level of response," says Madsen.

Gaza Benefit Show. 5 p.m. Music at 7 p.m. Spirit. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $10-20 suggested donation or pay-what-you-can. spiritpgh.com

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