It may take many years for tornado torn areas in Alabama, such as the city of Tuscaloosa, to rebuild. In the weeks since the April 27th tornado outbreak, efforts have been taken to help the victims recover.
All over Alabama, local artists have become frontrunners in the efforts to raise money for tornado relief. Through their music, they help encourage others to donate to the cause so that Alabama can begin to rebuild.
The below video, a collaboration of four R&B/hip-hop artists (a2z, Silent D, Michael Battito, and Kadesh) is one such example of the efforts of local musicians. They wrote and performed this song and put together the video. According to the information they provide, all proceeds from downloads of this 99 cent song will go toward relief efforts in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama songwriter/singer Keith Moody organized the Rocking for the Red Cross Benefit, a 3 concert tour which began in Nashville, TN on May 19th. Two following shows were held in Montgomery, AL on May 22nd and Fairhope, AL on May 30th. The latter two shows featured Alabama natives. At the Fairhope show, Keith Moody told MSNBC that, “We raised $3,000 in Montgomery, $1,200 in Nashville … Hopefully, if we can get anywhere between that, I would love to match the total so far.”
According to his website, the benefit has raised over $4,000 so far, although there has been no confirmation on an exact amount.
This past Friday, June 7th, Buffalo Wild Wings in Trussville, AL, held a benefit concert featuring four bands from around the Birmingham area. Recovery Alabama reports that 100% of the proceeds from food and alcohol sales would be donated to the tornado relief. This event, hosted by Erica with Erica Soulshine, also included the sale of t-shirts designed by Natalya Spicker and signed by the bands, and face painting for the kids, as well as text-based scavenger hunt and a raffle.
Perhaps the largest benefit concert in Alabama to date has been the Roll Tide Relief Benefit Show, held in Tuscaloosa, AL, the city most damaged by the April 27th tornadoes. From 2 P.M. on June 4th until 2 A.M. on June 5th, 50 local bands performed at 5 venues in Tuscaloosa. For $10, music lovers could purchase a wristband and visit as many shows as they desired. 100% of the proceeds went to the United Way of West Alabama.
The amount of money raised for the benefit was not made immediately available.
A group of University of Alabama students and local community members organized the event to help raise the money to rebuild their city. The event organizer, Anne Miles Wilkerson, told Ben Flanagan of al.com, “As residents of Tuscaloosa who were here during the storm, we are in awe of the amazing generosity and compassion of this city and cannot wait to enjoy the day with our friends and neighbors.”
Like the community, the musicians were also eager to help out in any way they could. At the Rocking for the Red Cross Benefit show in Montgomery, the owner of the Rock Bottom Pub, where the event was held, told The Local Scene that he had to stop calling musicians because too many were agreeing to come perform.
At the Roll Tide Relief show, local musician Blaine Duncan (frontman for Blaine Duncan and the Lookers) told Ben Flanagan that, “soon after the tornado struck and the realization set in across the community that a lot of people were in need, our bass player, Kendall Rich, said to me, ‘If there’s any kind of benefit, I’d be willing to play it.’”
He added that, “Priority number one is to get everyone back on their feet, which I hope this benefit accomplishes.”
Indeed, that seems to be sentiment of many local musicians who are singing their hearts out to help the victims of these tornadoes.
It will be a long time before things return to normal in Tuscaloosa and other parts of Alabama that were affected by the tornadoes. But thanks to the support of so many wonderful musicians, the venues that support them, and the wonderful people of Alabama, there has been a positive start to the rebuilding efforts.