Allegheny County Music Festival answers call for neglected children
It seems like a musical adieu to summer, and in some ways it is. The 10th annual Allegheny County Music Festival, featuring Rusted Root on Sunday at Hartwood Acres, caps the series of free shows at county parks for the year.
But the purpose transcends the music. Founded by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer, the festival has raised more than $268,000 for almost 1,400 underprivileged, neglected and abused children.
Baer saw many of these children coming through the legal system when he served as a common pleas judge. He decided to try to raise funds for items that might seem insignificant: sports equipment, prom dresses, musical instruments.
However, Baer notes, when children don't have much more than the basic necessities, small gestures like these take on giant proportions.
"Your life is very different when you're 7 to 15," Baer says. "Maybe all you want in the world is to be a cheerleader, and you've practiced so hard and you've dreamed about it and you don't have the $60 for the outfit. It can be consequential to a child; it can be a nightmare, devastating."
Baer says the key to the festival (in addition to the continuing cooperation of the Allegheny County Parks staff and County Executive Dan Onorato) is having a star attraction. Among the acts that have appeared at the event are Los Lobos, Blues Traveler and Pittsburgh's own Rusted Root, which performed at Hartwood Acres in 2004.
Singer and guitarist Michael Glabicki wasn't sure what to expect when the band arrived at the venue during a rainstorm.
"There were streams of water coming down through where the audience was," Glabicki says.
There also were streams of vehicles trying to get into Hartwood Acres, and the band was told that some cars had to be turned away.
"Before we knew it, there were over 30,000 people there," Glabicki says. "It was pretty intense, and it turned into Pittsburgh's own little Woodstock."
Glabicki and Liz Berlin, vocalist and percussionist for Rusted Root, say the cause meshes with the group's mission both musically and spiritually.
"It's definitely in line with a lot of the stuff we believe, and a lot of my personal work with youth supporting educational causes," Berlin says.
"It's such a neat charity," Glabicki says, "because you can see the concrete benefits of it. You hear the stories about kids getting school or music supplies or other things, and we're proud to be part of it."
Baer also can bear witness to the charity's effectiveness. He gets feedback from court-appointed caseworkers and foster parents about how much these small gestures mean to children who have been neglected or forgotten.
"The thing about what we do is that 100 percent of the proceeds, what the public donates to us, goes to the charity," Baer says, noting that no public funds are used to put on the concert.
Baer also has one wish of his own: He'd like to see Rusted Root continue to headline the Allegheny County Music Festival.
"We would love for them to do it annually," Baer says.
To which Glabicki replies, "We love this gig. It's an amazing show for us."Additional Information:
Allegheny County Music Festival
When: 7 p.m Sunday
Admission: $20 per car
Where: Hartwood Acres
Details: 412-350-2773 or Web site
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.
- Pirates show depth in earning victory over Rockies; Polanco has big night
- Despite being suspended, Boyd still making contributions for Pitt
- Healthy, confident Steelers LB Shazier ready for full speed ahead
- Timing drives former KHL star Plotnikov
- ‘Action’ against AG Kane sent to Supreme Court, sources say
- LaBar: The upgrade of The Wyatt Family in WWE
- Charleroi looking to turn the corner
- WVU sophomore linebacker Preston draws heavy praise
- County police officer on leave after assault charges filed
- Historic WWII-era landing ship tank docking at Heinz Field
- Pitt’s Narduzzi names 4 captains