Local rockers combat poverty

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by Preston Wittwer

Five dollars can get a student a pizza, a movie ticket or a few packs of Oreos. Tonight, that same price can also get them two and half hours of live outdoor music, a J-Dawg and the satisfaction of helping someone less fortunate find a place to sleep for the night.

Tonight the Provo Food & Care Coalition will host the concluding show of its summer concert series, a battle of the bands featuring six local bands — Kiss Me, Kill Me, Endon, Baldwin Games, Bittersweet Bluegrass, Random Acronym and Hekyll N Jive. The concert is sponsored by J-Dawgs, Lucky’s Wood Fire Pizza and others, with proceeds from the event going toward helping the homeless of Utah County.

Nancy Mickiewicz, the store house director at the Food & Care Coalition,  has been preparing the event for weeks, hoping to draw crowds from all over Utah County, especially gearing toward BYU and UVU students.

“We want it to be the two universities coming together,” Mickiewicz said. “There aren’t a lot of activities in the county that bring the two together, but we want to change that custom.”

One way they have tried to bring the two schools together is featuring bands that have ties to both schools. Endon and Kiss Me, Kill Me played at a battle of the bands hosted by the UVU Student Association earlier this year.  Some bands, like Baldwin Games, have band members who currently attend BYU.

Kenny Baldwin, 22, from Newburry Park, Calif., attends BYU and plays piano for the family band of Baldwins that formed a few weeks ago. Baldwin said his band looks forward to debuting what they describe as their American indie folk rock in a competitive environment. The winner will be decided by the loudest cheer from the crowd with the winning band receiving a professional promotional package valued at more than $1,000.

“We would love to win it,” Baldwin said. “Musically we have incredible talent but it’s going to be different to have your first concert be a competition. We haven’t had a chance to build a fan base yet, but it’s going to be a high energy show. Sweet enough for the ladies, but hard enough for the boys.”

The concert proceeds will help fund the already completed transitional housing located in the Food & Care Coalition building.  Heather Hogue, the concert’s co-event coordinator, said she hopes the event will enable them to help the homeless of Utah in a more effective way.

“Our entire second floor is going to be transitional housing,” Hogue said. “We plan to bring people off the street.”

Amberly Asay, 19, a pre-communications major from Mapleton, has volunteered at the coalition in the past and plans to attend to support local artists and to contribute to a worthy cause.

“If someone doesn’t have a place to stay, we need to give them a place to stay,” Asay said. “And the way that [the concert] is set up it gives all the local bands a shot at becoming famous and there will be even more success for musicians from Provo.”

The open air concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and will take place behind the Provo Food & Coalition building, at 299 E. and 900 South in Provo.  The $5 price includes admission and a choice of food from one of the vendors. Sponsors will also be giving away T-shirts, hats, iPods, iShuffles and an iPad.

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