The five organizers of Saturday’s fundraiser for presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders are amateurs. They have never promoted a music event or fundraiser before.
“We did a [pro-Bernie] rally called ‘Enough Is Enough’ at the fountain in front of the Space Center in Balboa Park in November,” says organizer David Humphrey. “We made it clear Bernie wasn’t showing, but we still drew 600 people.”
Humphrey says it was all thumbs up. “It’s amazing how much interest we got in conservative San Diego. We did get a random ‘communist nazi’ on our website but nothing bad happened at the event.”
Broken Stems perform live at the Soultruistic Music Festival
Humphrey and crew felt empowered. “We heard about some ‘Bands for Bernie’ fundraisers in San Francisco and Washington DC, so we said, ‘Why don’t we do one here?’”
The five-band show this Saturday at the WorldBeat Center in Balboa Park makes a rare fundraising promise: 100 percent of the $10 door charge goes straight to Sanders. That’s because the $2800 in venue expenses (hall rental, security) was donated by contributors.
Jessie Gawlik says his blues-rock and soul band Broken Stems is playing for free because he believes Sanders has a chance. “He believes in people. He says, ‘I can’t do this myself; I need your help.’ Never underestimate the power of people when they come together.”
Declan Halloran says the guys in his six-man ska band Neveready have a slightly different motivation. “If we don’t all feel the same about Bernie, we all do feel the same about [potential Sanders opponent] Donald Trump.”
San Diego’s music/political arc includes Mojo Nixon, who was part of the ’80s Beat Farmers–led hayseed-rock surge. Nixon has repeatedly threatened to run for president. The Coronado resident, who has a degree in poli-sci, ran on the premise that government should be funded by taxing churches, drugs, porno, and prostitution.
“Put another sex-crazed hillbilly in the White House” and “Make another Nixon commander in chief — Mojo is not a Dick” were two of his slogans.
Broken Stems, Tony Tig, Jason French, Moves Collective, and Neveready play at Bands for Bernie this Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. at the WorldBeat Center.