This weekend, musicians, artists, and community members from South Bend and beyond will be coming together to support the gathering at Standing Rock and its efforts to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Stand with Standing Rock Benefit Concert & Silent Auction takes place this Sunday, January 29th at LangLab in South Bend. The event will feature a variety of entertainment, with twelve bands, twelve acoustic artists, three DJs, and multiple comedian MCs.
“It’s going to be music packed, all day long,” said Dena Woods.
She, along with fellow organizers Jenni Miller and Eli Kahn, have been awed by the support offered to them by the local community. The performances, beginning promptly at 2pm, have all been donated. The acoustic stage will be surrounded by auction blocks with work offered by local and regional artists, as well as goods from local businesses. Throughout the community, everything from water for volunteers to supplies for promotion have been contributed.
“It’s bigger than we ever thought it would be,” said Miller. “It’s pretty amazing. It’s a testament to the kind of place South Bend is.”
Miller is a local artist herself, operating out of a studio space at LangLab. The venue, which also operates as a small business incubator and a studio home for artists, is the appropriate fit for such a community oriented event. LangLab gives artists a reduced rate space to work and developing businesses a low-rent option to get started and grow before heading out into the broader region. Purple Porch Co-op, a community owned cafe, grocery store, and farmers market, got its start inside LangLab.
“It’s a supportive place,” Miller said. “It’s home.”
She appeared entirely unhindered by the immense effort and the lack of sleep that has been the price of planning the event in such a short period of time. She pointed to her experience managing bands, organizing past events, and serving on the board of directors for Habitat For Humanity as valuable when planning the benefit event.
Woods and Kahn also have their share of experience in planning events in the area. Those familiar with the local music scene would have a hard time missing any of their names throughout the years. They were quick to point to their volunteers, the community donors, and, most importantly, the Standing Rock gathering itself, as the focus.
Planning for Stand With Standing Rock began after Kahn found himself emotionally affected by imagery from the Standing Rock Gathering, with native tribes and their allies in peaceful protest being assaulted with fire hoses, gas, and rubber bullets.
“Some of these images we’re seeing,” Miller said. “It’s hard for me to think about without crying.”
We discussed the current climate in our culture and the need for every citizen to find a way to step into the fray and help better the world. Miller pointed to the daunting task of each individual figuring out what they can do to make change, but knowing she had to do something.
“I’m an artist, I’m poor, how can I help?” she said. “We’re just trying to do this the way we know how. The way we know how is to spread love through art and music.”
“We all felt moved enough and angry enough,” Woods said. “It’s about doing something for what’s right and fighting against what’s wrong. I may be one person, but I have this within me and I’m going to give it to fight for what’s right. Obviously, a lot of causes that are extremely important that need to be fought for right now.”
It’s their hope to raise a significant amount of money at the event to donate to the Standing Rock gathering for supplies and to also raise awareness. They are also hoping to inspire others to take similar action for other causes.
“If you want to do something, do it,” Miller said. “Revolution doesn’t have to be violent.”
“You don’t need permission from anybody,” said Woods. “If you are upset about something, empower yourself and do something about it.”
The event, according to Miller, is about showing that South Bend stands with Standing Rock.
“We have to be there for each other no matter how far away we are,” she said.
Stand With Standing Rock takes this place this Sunday, January 29th from 2pm until 8pm at LangLab in South Bend on High Street. Information on the event can be found at the Stand with Standing Rock Benefit Concert & Silent Auction Facebook event page. Those hoping to volunteer for the event can contact the organizers via the Facebook page. Information on the Standing Rock gathering itself can be found at standwithstandingrock.net.