By: Chantal Dunn
Photo Courtesy: Edmonton Rock and Roll Society
The Rock’n’Roll Society of Edmonton is a non-profit that gives vulnerable youth the chance to hit the stage alongside some rock‘n’roll legends.
This year their big fundraiser, The Edmonton Rock Music Festival runs August 16–17. Selected junior high students that have been involved in a program called Center for Arts and Music (CAM) learning to play guitar, bass, key drums and vocals will get to perform.
“At the end of the day, what we are doing with these kids is taking them from perhaps no musical background into being able to play the instruments. And we believe pretty significantly and pretty significantly that this type of meaningful interaction and cultural interaction is going to help these kids produce better confidence, better self-esteem, and better leadership skills. These types of skills that they take into their communities and take with them as adults” said Todd Crawshaw the Executive Director. “The fruits of our labor today are still going to echo in 10-20 years’ time”.
Other bands announced playing this years festival include local group RadioActive followed by The Odds, and then the headliner, Sloan. On Saturday, local rock group, One Nite Stan opens, followed by Dextris who are fairly young but have a feel of 1970s glam rock.
Darby Mills takes the stage, who was the lead singer of The Headpins. After that, Wide Mouth Mason is up, followed by The Pursuit of Happiness and then Haywire.
The Headliner is “the best in show review supergroup” consisting of Rick Springfield (who is way more than just Jessie’s Girl), Greg Kin and Tommy Two Tone (8-6-7-5-3-0-9).
Together they make a three-man rock power group.
This huge fundraiser not only gives youth a chance to perform but it helps fund the CAM program throughout the year.
The Rock’n’Roll Society of Edmonton tries “to concentrate on the vulnerable after school hours with these kids, times where negative influences tend to be paramount.”
With this program, it is important to avoid stigmatizing the youth, as they have not received as many opportunities for musical education than others. They also teach how to write songs. Then the kids form bands and write and record their own songs.
For more information and to support the Rock‘n’ Roll society and to get tickets, check out the festival website www.edrocks.ca