Rock band Styx is helping to raise money for victims of a massive wildfire that continues to burn in northern California, from proceeds of an Aug. 19 concert to be held a dozen miles from where the fire first flared up.
Through Rock to the Rescue, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Styx and REO Speedwagon "to build strong, healthy communities through the support of grassroots causes across the country," Styx will be donating $5,000 (USD) to the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, which was created in 2000 “to promote philanthropy in Shasta and Siskiyou counties by connecting people who care with causes that matter,” according to its web site.
Another $5,000 will come directly from the band as well as by the venue – the Redding Civic Auditorium, up to a total of $15,000 from show proceeds. People coming to the show will be able to donate on site, and anyone who wants to donate money directly to the community foundation can do so at the above website.
The show and the fire have extra significance for current (since 2003) Styx bassist Ricky Phillips, who said in a press release from the band’s publicist that he grew up in Redding.
“I was quite taken by the fact that my band and management wanted to immediately make a donation to Redding and our neighbouring communities of Shasta County who have been affected by the Carr Fire,” he said, adding later in the statement that he was happy with the decision to continue with the show.
“There was some heartfelt discussion between Styx management and representatives in Redding. The result, what could have been a cancelled show, was eventually deemed necessary as, ‘a needed and welcome distraction … a place of unity … and even celebration.’”
The Carr Fire was so dubbed because it was first reported on July 23 near the intersection of Highway 299 at Carr Powerhouse Road in the Whiskeytown District of the Whiskeytown-Shasta, Trinity National Recreation Area in Shasta County, Northern California. As of Aug. 8, the fire had burned 173,533 acres, making it the sixth most destructive fire in the state’s history.
According to local emergency response officials, they believe the fire stated when sparks created by the rim on a flat tire of a vehicle struck the asphalt, igniting the nearby tinder-dry vegetation. Besides the massive amount of acreage destroyed, seven people, including two firefighters, have died as a result of the fire. Other victims include a great-grandmother and her two great-grandchildren. More than 1,000 homes as well as 500 other buildings, including barns, businesses and warehouses, have been destroyed with nearly 40,000 people evacuated from their homes, according to CNN and other media outlets.
Thus far between 45 to 47 percent of the fire has been contained. The city of Redding, California is approximately 12 miles from where the fire started, but local government officials and Styx management are confident that the community is safe, and the scheduled concert set for Aug. 19 will go ahead as planned.
Rock to the Rescue was started by long-time Styx frontman/guitarist Tommy Shaw and REO Speedwagon singer Kevin Cronin in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington and rural Pennsylvania. The group organized two big Volunteers for America concerts, one in Dallas and the other in Atlanta, in the wake of 9/11 raising more than $775,000 for victims of the tragedy. Periodically, similar shows have been held in centres in the United States.
According to the organization’s website, its mandate is to ‘build strong, healthy communities through the support of grassroots organizations across the country.”
To this day, at every Styx tour stop, the band, through the charity, partners with a local group to help with outreach, fundraising and volunteer support.
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