Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week, Charity Edition: Shakori Hills, Marsalis, Organissimo

Richie Stearns at Shakori Hills Festival. Photo by Amos Perrine

In the almost year I've been bringing you crowdfunding campaigns weekly, I've spoken a lot about the changing landscape of music and how crowdfunding has given artists control of their own productions. But what hasn't been focused on is another positive element of the crowdfunding movement, the ability to raise money for charity. Many artists choose to donate a portion of the money raised for their projects to their favorite charity organizations, allowing fans to do some good in the world while getting their music fix. So this week, I will bring you two crowdfunding campaigns with a charity component, and one crowdfunding campaign that is pure charity, to save a folk festival institution.

Organissimo- B3tles- A Tribute to the Fab Four

Acclaimed jazz trio Organissimo is taking on the British Invasion with their nod to the Beatles, entitled B3tles- A Tribute to the Fab Four. The trio of Hammond jazz organ players will re-interpret classics like “Taxman” and “The Long and Winding Road.” Hearing how the group fiddles with the arrangements of these songs everyone knows for their triple organ sound should be interesting. They have already teased things like “Taxman” in 7/4 time (taxes having taken the eighth, of course), and “All You Need is Love” in 5/4. More importantly for this week's theme, Organissimo is donating a whopping 25% of the money raised to the American Cancer Society. Backer rewards include an exclusive B3tles shirt in a variety of colors, an invite to the album release party, and an organ grinder pedal from the band.

Ellis Marsalis- Double Vinyl Album

While Millennial artists have, predictably, hopped on the crowdfunding bandwagon more than their older counterparts, more and more long established artists are taking to the platform. A few weeks ago, I featured bluegrass man Bobby Osborne, who at 84 is the oldest person ever to launch a campaign. Now he has a fellow octogenarian in the crowdfunding clubhouse as jazz legend Ellis Marsalis has taken to PledgeMusic to raise funds for a new double album that will only be available on vinyl. By releasing the album only on vinyl, Marsalis is not only tapping into the current vinyl revolution but also hearkening back to his past, when all albums were released in that way. Backer rewards include an autographed test printing of the album, a disposable camera filled with photos from one of Marsalis' live sets at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, and a one hour private lesson from the man himself. A portion of money raised for the album will go to benefit the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans, which aims to bring jazz to the less fortunate in the region.

Shakori Hills Grassroots Hurricane Matthew Fund

In the dozens of artists I've featured in this space, I've never featured a purely charitable drive with no backer rewards, the point of this space being to get you familiar with new music. But it seems right to end a charity themed Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week with a fundraiser that rewards you with a good feeling and, hopefully, the continued financial solvency of a roots festival institution. Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival had the misfortune to be scheduled right in the middle of Hurricane Matthew's worst blow. While the damage to the property was minimal and the festival was able to go on in a much more intimate and scaled back way, the inevitable cancellations of both artists and fans left Shakori Hills on the hook for $100,000 of unpaid bills due to lost revenue. So they've taken their case to their fans, asking for donations with no strings attached to ensure Shakori Hills is able to continue into 2017 and beyond.