Activism

Rock the Earth Planet Defender Award Winners Include Bonnie

on April 22, 2010 No comments

Rock the Earth has announced the winners of its 2010 Planet Defender Awards in conjunction with its Rock the Earth Day celebration. Bonnie Raitt is this year’s winner in the Planet Defender Awards’ Artist category. Raitt was a founding member of MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) which produced the concerts, album and movie, No Nukes in 1979. More recently, Rock the Earth was a recipient of a fundraising Grant from her The BonTaj Collective Action Fund for the organization’s environmental protection work.rocktheearth2-353x

“As a long-time advocate for the environment and safe energy, it is such an honor to receive the Planet Defender award from Rock the Earth”, Raitt said. “This organization has been a faithful non-profit partner in my ongoing effort to share the message of ultimate environmental responsibility with fans at my concerts. Thank you, Rock the Earth, for helping to spread the word about protecting the environment and encouraging people to get involved at the local level. Keep up the great work!

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BonTaj Roulet Blazes New Ground Raising Green for Greens

on September 3, 2009 No comments

by Harvey Wasserman – September 3, 2009
Author, ‘SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth’

In a tough economy, with music lovers thinking twice before going to see their favorite acts, the 34-date BonTaj Roulet Tour by Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal is blazing new green ground in raising money for charities. So far it’s collected over $100,000 for environmental and other causes. It could add that much again before the final show on September 25 at Rancho Mirage, California.

The tour features a unique pairing that cuts across rock and blues barriers…and a whole lot more. With strong reviews and healthy ticket sales on an otherwise rough summer for the music business, the tour is also laying the groundwork for a new mix in the magic art of using commercial concerts to raise funds for green and other causes.

According to Kathy Kane, Bonnie Raitt’s manager, “the artists are giving, the concert goers are giving and the ticketing agencies are giving, along with some key venues and promoters.” Among the collaborators are Ticketmaster, Live Nation Ticketing, and Musictoday. “Not every venue and promoter is contributing,” says Kane, “but many are trying, and every venue and promoter has worked with us to make this happen.”

A 25-cent contribution added to the price of each ticket is matched with a 25-cent contribution from the artists. The funds are distributed to causes in proportion to votes tallied through the BonTaj Roulet tour website. Visitors to the website can choose between “safe & sustainable energy,” “environmental protection,” “social justice & human rights” and “blues/music education.” “The funds will be given to nonprofit organizations across the country,” says Kane. “If safe and sustainable energy received 23% of the votes then groups working on safe and sustainable energy will receive 23% of the funds being granted.”

The mix of contributions from promoters/venues and ticketing agencies with matching funds from artists and concertgoers, distributed by popular vote, is a new recipe for concert tour fundraising, says Kane. Many of the dates also feature VIP Charity Action Fund gatherings where donors get special seats and meet with the artists after the show. “Perhaps what makes this unique is the collaborative effort coming from different entities involved in putting on a concert. This way, everyone is contributing to raise funds out of their resources, not just the artist or the fans,”says Kane.

Of the 34 dates on the tour, 31 venues participated in the fundraising effort, she adds, with two choosing to support other causes of their own.

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Little Kids Rock Students Sit in on BonTaj Soundcheck

on August 11, 2009 No comments

  BREAKING NEWS

 

BonTaj Roulet Recollection

Picture this scenario: You’re 11 years old, from Jersey City, and can’t afford a guitar. Your teacher brings you and six classmates to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), a jewel of a theater in the middle of Newark, to meet blues legends Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. You pull out the brand-new, custom Fender® acoustic guitar that was just gifted to you and relinquish it to Taj, who tunes it, plays a funky riff, and hands it back. All you can do is look at your friend with wide eyes and say, “Taj Mahal just played my guitar!”

That is the sentiment that could be seen on the face of one of the seven fortunate students from P.S. 29 who received an exclusive pre-concert performance from the two rockstars at the show’s soundcheck. The duo is in the middle of a tour called BonTaj Roulet, which is raising funds and awareness for various charities.

Bonnie’s guitar sizzled while Taj blew the blues on his harp. Her fiery red hair and smooth singing complimented his cool straw hat and booming, raspy voice. They came down off the stage after introducing their bands and answered questions from the aspiring rock ‘n’ rollers.

“These are some of the best questions I’ve ever been asked,” Taj said as he looked at Bonnie, who nodded in agreement. “Do you want to take this one?”

“Sure,” she responded, and explained to the children that, yes, she does sometimes get homesick while touring, and no, she didn’t get to where she is without putting in hours upon hours of hard work.

Bonnie and Taj continued to provide answers and anecdotes to the kids, who clutched the new acoustic guitars with which Little Kids Rock surprised them. They were amazed to find out that they were the first people in the world to own the ESC-80 educational model Fender® acoustic guitar, which was custom-made for Little Kids Rock.

In the lobby, with their new guitars in hand and a camera pointed their way, the Little Kids Rock guitar class from Jersey City huddled around Taj, who emitted an aura of cool, and Bonnie, whose flowing, red hair with the signature white stripe was the picture’s centerpiece.

Several fans snapped pictures from outside, reminding Bonnie and Taj that their scheduled performance was rapidly approaching, and they had yet to eat dinner. However, they told the kids to line up so that they could each get an individual photo with the pair before they left to perform for several thousand fans.

“Keep playing,” Bonnie said as she headed backstage. “You’ll get here one day.”

Source: © Copyright Little Kids Rock

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