Nile hosts charity event for Penn school
Local bands, artists and vendors all lent their time and energy to the Giving Tree Battle of the Bands and Art Show at the Nile on Jan. 21.
The show started at 11 a.m. and lasted until around midnight.
Popular local bands like the Aviators, Crooked Folk and the Bird Channel donated their time and energy for the fundraiser.
“This is a very good cause and hopefully more will come out of it,” said Ricardo Pacheco, lead guitarist and singer for Crooked Folk.
The winner of the battle of the bands was announced late into the night with the Architecture coming out on top of the fifteen. The Aviators took second place followed by Kenny Reeves and the Clones.
Styles of music ranged from Jazz and Psychedelic and Hard Rock to Acoustic.
DJ Josex was also on-hand to spin records and make music so the audience could dance between bands.
“It was beyond raising money,” said Amber Beeson, the woman behind the Giving Tree Project. “It was more of a social experiment.”
The lobby of the Nile was converted into a temporary gallery to hold works for sale donated by local artists.
One of the more outstanding displays was a series called “Faces of a Phagwah Parade,” by Jerome Lazarus. “Faces” was a number of photographs of Hindus from Thailand piercing their backs with large hooks and hanging mid-air from trees in an effort to reverse negative karma.
There was also art by local tattoo artists like Bobby Holland and George Quick.
Another artist, Bear Johnson, donated half a dozen bizarre mixed-media collages that included magazine clippings and found objects mounted on pieces of wood.
“The art was a mixed bag. I liked the photography. Bakersfield has so much talent, I wish if anything there had been more on display,” said attendee Rachel Llewellyn.
Local food vendors set up shop outside the Nile on the streets around 19th Street for the attendees that wanted something to eat between acts.
The event was put together by Beeson as a way to raise money for the William Penn Elementary School.
Beeson has two sons at Penn, and her goal is to clean up the school and raise funds for the Booster Club, as well as provide the students with a garden they can work and learn in.
“The kids haven’t had field trips or yearbooks in over 10 years. There’s no Booster Club,” said Beeson.
She is also working with the city and county to set up a community garden on 4th and Eye in a city owned lot, preserve the peacock area of Hart Park and start a greenhouse.
“I’m hoping to get more people out of their houses,” said Beeson.
The battle of the bands and art show raised over $2,500 which will all go to Penn School.