Giving to kids continues with Rusted Root at Allegheny County Music Festival
By Rex Rutkoski
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
The tribes gather again to celebrate life, music and the premise that “little things” really do mean a lot.
The 14th Allegheny County Music Festival features headliners Rusted Root in the annual summer's end homecoming concert at Hartwood Acres, Hampton Township, on Sept. 1.
It all gets under way with what musician Bill Deasy, the county's special-events manager, calls the traditional “fun mix of styles and genres.”
This year, Deasy says, the mix offers Liz Berlin's “We Rock Workshop”; adult contemporary artist Carla Bianco, who performed on Broadway in “Rent”; the “exuberant youthful energy of rising national stars” of the Louisiana-based Royal Teeth; and “the fun, local and folksy” Corned Beef and Curry.
“And it really still comes down to the enduring magic that Rusted Root has been churning out for the past 20 years or so,” Deasy says. “I am amazed by how vibrant and connected to their muse they remain through the years.”
The “added ingredient” of helping those in need deepens, Deasy says.
The suggested donation of $20 per car benefits the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund, which finances special requests from children and youth served through the Department of Human Services and/or Juvenile Probation.
Tickets for a 50-50 raffle will be sold throughout the evening.
“There is nothing nicer than a Sunday early evening sitting in the grass at Hartwood, listening to music,” says Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer, who founded the event in 2000. “How often do you get to participate in making the world better for kids, while also having a wonderful evening on a hillside listening to great music?”
The evening makes it possible to buy items which are important to children, but are otherwise unavailable. “In 12 years, no child in Allegheny County's child welfare system has gone without these little items that children born to more fortunate parents take for granted,” Baer says.
Those items include bus passes, music lessons, prom attire, bicycles to be able to pedal to a first job or an art class, school supplies, graduation expenses and starter wardrobes for jobs.
Baer continues to believe that when children don't have much more than the basic necessities, those things mean a lot.
‘We want to provide those little things for children caught in these sad situations in foster care, being in group homes and families where there just is no money to provide them, and we've been fortunate to do that,” Baer says.
As of Sept. 1, 2012, the music festival fund has raised nearly $559,000 and assisted 2,300 children and youth.
“Our relationship with Rusted Root has been a godsend and has allowed the festival to continue for as long as it has,” Baer says. “I am pleased by that and hope it continues forever.”
It is “extremely fulfilling” says Liz Berlin, Rusted Root vocalist and percussionist. “We are so excited to play this concert and help these kids with these activities.”
In 2009, Berlin, a solo artist in her own right performing Aug. 30 at Pittsburgh's Hard Rock Cafe, approached Baer offering to give free music lessons. That makes a significant difference to the kids, Baer says, having someone like her volunteer.
Berlin says it is important to take the spotlight and “use it for something beyond myself. ... It is a gift I feel a responsibility to use.”
While musicians may receive the most attention, “a lot of other people step out and help people in need,” she says.
Berlin believes the festival is an example of the healing power of music.
“Every Rusted Root show is like that,” she says. “Fans sticking with us all these years say they feel something special about our music, especially when we do something to really help and support other people. That really kind of magnifies the healing aspect.”
Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cyrus’ rescheduled U.S. tour now includes Pittsburgh stop in August
- Saxophonist Watson says Horizon’s so good, it’s almost too good