Rock 'n Blues for Children's Causes

Popular rock fundraiser takes on a festival format

Kathryn Dunmore, Backbeat

February 4, 2011

Switching gears to benefit all involved, this year’s Rock ’n’ Blues for Children’s Causes has changed from a jam format to a winter festival involving several local bands performing throughout the day on March 6 at the Boston Manor.

In the previous two years, then called the Rock ’n’ Blues Jam, the event called on musicians to show up and jam in support of a children’s charity — Because I’m a Girl in support of education for girls in developing countries the first year and Plan Canada the second year.

This year’s charity is Mac Kids, where funds raised will be used to purchase equipment for the pediatric and oncology ward at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

“This is fast becoming Burlington’s musical event of the winter,” said Kim Boydell of Wizened Old Men, a Burlington band that has organized the event for the third year running. “The big change for this year’s event is it has moved away from the jam format into more of a festival format. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is that mostly established bands showing up to play with very few single musicians. Both musicians and the audience will like this format better.”

Each band now performs 25-minute sets. With a fixed playing time the musicians can better plan their day if they have outside commitments, added Boydell.

“The audience will like it better because there will be more music from each band and less time in change over, which means more music in total,” he said. “As in the past, the response from the music community for this charity event has been fantastic.”

Boydell said he was contacted by a number of bands that wanted to play, but there wasn’t enough time to fit all those interested.

This year’s event is once again hosted by Wizened Old Men with Morghan Leigh. Also performing are Bernie LaBarge and Stem, the DuBay Band, The Unruly Gentlemen’s Club, the Retro Rockit Band, the Tommy D. Band with special guest Michael Keys, Trish O’Neill and the Blues Pirates, Vince Hawkins and Company Slave, and Rattlesnake Point.

Bernie LaBarge is looking forward to the event to perform once again with his old band, Stem, while supporting a great cause.

“I grew up in Burlington so it’s great getting back to see old friends and play with Stem, which is one of my favourite bands of my career,” said LaBarge. During the 1970s, he was the front man and guitarist for many popular Canadian bands (Bond, Rain, Sweet Blindness, Zwol, Stem, Stingaree) and was nominated for a Juno Award in 1984 for his album entitled Barging In.

With numerous bands now involved, audience members can rest assured all money raised goes towards Mac Kids.

“All expenses are covered by our sponsors so that participants know that all donations collected at the door go to Mac Kids, nothing is spent elsewhere,” said Boydell, who has seen sponsorship support grow drastically this year. “Sponsors are Halton Organizing and Bookkeeping Services, Halton Honda, Beverly Caulking, Burlington Taxi and T-Shirt Monster.”

This year’s event is on Sunday, March 6 at Boston Manor. Admission costs $10 with charitable receipts being provided for donations of $20 or more. The music starts at 2 p.m.

For more information, visit www.rocknbluesjam.com.