07/21/08

Rex Jam Report #3 – All Good

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All Good Music Festival and Camp-out
Masontown, WV – July 10-13, 2008
Band: The Bridge (and Medeski, Schofield and Dietch)
In support of University High School and Morgantown High School, music and arts programs.

The All Good Festival provided the Rex Foundation with some amazing opportunities to raise awareness and raise funds. The good folks at Walther Productions were truly supportive of what Rex is trying to accomplish and helped to create tremendous success over the three days we were there.

Instead of just the Rex Jam, Rex also presented
Q&A Collaboration with John Schofield, John Medeski and Adam Dietch, and we staffed the beer service in the VIP “Sky Lounge.” as a fund-raiser as well. It was a lot of work, but even so, a good time was had by all.

The Sky Lounge was a new addition to the VIP program this year, and Tim Walther (producer of All Good) offered to let us staff the beer tent and donate some of the sales to Rex Foundation. Along with all of the tip money, it turned out to be a great resource. I had an amazing crew working with me. The picture above shows Darrell, Chuck and Jen hard at work behind the taps. Between the three of them, Butch, Amy and me, we poured beer for 47 hours to some of the most generous group of people I have ever met. These VIPs tipped and tipped… and when they realized that all the tip money was going to the Rex Foundation, it almost seemed as though they tipped even more. On the last day – Jess, a woman who we’d been serving all weekend, who had been tipping heavily all weekend, came over to me, handed me a $50 bill and said, “I think what you’re doing is amazing.” The beauty of some people knows no limits. I want to extend a very special thanks to all of those who purchased VIP tickets and spent their time with us in the “Sky Lounge”. I do hope to see you all again next year!

On Friday afternoon I was to present a special Q&A Collaboration with Schofield, Medeski and Dietch. As soon as I arrived to the Ropeadope Stage, I felt very welcomed. The stage manager, Mario, was right there ready to help me with anything I needed, and as I walked onto the stage, John Schofield offered me his microphone to use (such a gentleman!). I did my speech – a truncated version of the Rex Jam speech – and we set out into the crowd to collect money. I was not overly optimistic, as the crowd was pretty small, but Jen and I persevered. People were slowly arriving to the stage as they heard the music, so we kept at it, and about half-way through the program, Schofield reminded the crowd that we were out there collecting and that they should dig into their pockets… I was so appreciative because it really did spark some more support. I hope to have the chance to say a special thanks to him for that someday soon.

On Saturday, we had the Rex Jam with the Baltimore-based band, The Bridge. I had been unsuccessful in getting in touch with them, and I was a little concerned because they were doing a special 20 minute set wholly dedicated to the Rex Jam. As I made my way to the back stage area, I finally did connect with the guys in the band as well as Mook – the stage manager in that area. Once again – everyone was great. I was more comfortable doing my presentation there, perhaps it’s because I had Friday as a “practice run”…. I do know that the crowd was really responsive so that also helped. During my presentation, the band heard me talking about the Jerry Jams CDs we are giving away (yours with a $20 donation, while supplies last!) and so they changed their set at the last minute, and opened with a great version of “Get Out of My Life” in honor of Jerry. I was really excited about that for a few reasons… 1) I simply enjoy the song and 2) it was so validating to know that people are actually listening to what I’m saying. So – we only had about 20 minutes (maybe less) to collect, but I had 9 people circulating, the “bar staff” was joined by Molly, Jessica, Mike, Briannan and Luke – while Butch stayed behind to man the taps. We were diligent in our limited time, but we did well. Again, the people were generous and the volunteers were motivated.

By the end of the weekend, combining the collections during the Q&A on Friday, the Rex Jam on Saturday, and the beer Tips – we raised a significant amount of money. I have to say that I have been lucky enough to have found some of the most wonderful people to help with these Rex Jams (and other events), and I think we all feel equally as lucky to be able to say we are part of this amazing adventure.

Here’s looking forward to 10KLakes – the home of the very first Rex Jam!