Although much has been said about EDM’s ascent in 2012, one aspect of it has been significantly positive: music-related charity events. These aren’t your local dance-offs at a club. Instead, no matter if DJs are raising money for a cause or a disaster, top talent brings the crowd (and sometimes the bucks).
One of the more prominent, and more recent events, was Help Heal New York, a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Sandy at Pacha NYC. The November 14 event had Afrojack and Erick Morillo headlining, with 50 other local and international DJs added, and all performed for free. 100 percent of the funds, which eventually totaled to be about $150,000, went toward the Greater New York Red Cross and other local charity organizations, such as HeartShare Human Services of New York.
“I have so much love for New York and New Jersey and it was devastating to see the effect the storm had on our local communities,” Morillo said in a statement. “I jumped at the chance to get involved in such a good cause and would like to thank the international dance community for coming together to help get our area back on their feet.”
Help Heal New York wasn’t the only EDM-related charity event in town. Less than a week later was EDM for Sandy Relief, at the Gramercy Theater. Parag Bhandari, CEO of UG Strategies, helped with relief efforts the night of the storm, and after contacting DJ/producer Tommie Sunshine, decided to throw such a charity event.
“My parents were affected by this Hurricane,” Bhandari told Billboard.biz. “Their basement was flooded; they lost power for 10 days in South Brunswick, N.J. I have friends in Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, in Manasquan and literally their houses are gone. All of us, we tour around, we DJ, we get paid to play music; we have to do f-cking something!”
Held on November 19, EDM for Sandy Relief not only had Sunshine performing but also Drop The Lime, The Crystal Method, Run DMT, Alexander Technique, and Blaqwell. Sponsors, including Live Nation, Ticketmaster, and Dubspot, covered the cost. 100 percent of proceeds went toward the American Red Cross. Bhandari now has plans for three more similar events in other locations.
The two fundraisers for Sandy weren’t the only occasions in which promoters and top talent came together to raise money for victims of a disaster. In September, Beta Nightclub, artist Funkagenda, and FAUX Entertainment scheduled multiple events in the Denver area to raise money for the Aurora Victims Relief Fund. Artists Funkagenda, Chris Lake, Sydney Blu, MC Flipside, and Lazy Rich performed, and deadmau5, Dirty South, Guy Gerber, Sasha, Tiesto, and Zedd offered items for auction.
While these music related fundraisers have been toward causes, others are for organizations. Tiesto and Laidback Luke, at the end of November, participated in the DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES campaign, getting fans to unite in the fight against AIDS. While the DJs requested fans donate toward the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with Tiesto pledging to match fans’ contributions dollar for dollar up to $100,000, an album with the campaign’s title and streaming performances from Stereosonic Melbourne 2012, through (RED)’s YouTube page, added a musical component.
Nearly a year before before, Roc Nation and Six Zero Group came together in January 2012 to do a benefit concert for the Children’s Orthopedic Center and The Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. EDM artists performing included deadmau5, Calvin Harris (with Rihanna), and Sebastian Ingrosso.
Similarly, in New York, Patronage, a lifestyle and fashion brand, hosted an event at Chelsea Manor, in July 2012, with part of the proceeds going toward VH1 Save The Music, a nonprofit that assists with restoring pub school music programs. The event was part of the “So Much Love” campaign, which emphasizes the positivity message frequently found in EDM.
A few DJs have their own charity organizations. One is Steve Angello’s Size Foundation, an organization with the belief that all children deserve a chance at a decent life. Size Foundation funds efforts for humanitarian assistance, educational support in arts and music, scholarships, grants, and others small projects to encourage the rights of children and young adults.
Perhaps more well-known is Avicii’s House for Hunger. The DJ toured earlier in 2012 to raise $1 million for Feeding America through House for Hunger.
House for Hunger, aside from donating to Feeding America, specifically targets a younger generation and, in the process, aims to change the image associated with EDM. On the House for Hunger website, manager Ash Pournouri explained why they decided to create the charity, stating, “During my frequent travels to the U.S., I get involved in the economy of that market specifically and it quickly became shocking to me how the view that the rest of the world has on this powerful country is not at all correct or real. In the so-called ‘land of prosperity,’ I was shocked to discover how many are struggling with hunger – the statistics are staggering.”