Concerts for a cause

Anchorage Community Works, located in downtown Anchorage, serves as a creative center that hosts events, concerts and art exhibits. ACW will be hosting several events for Anchorage Rocks for Autism this month. Photo credit: Jay Guzman

With the help of the organizations Anchorage Rocks for Autism and Family Tree Presents, the month of April is stacked with concerts featuring local musicians, all wanting to help a cause. Every Monday in April, various artists will be featured in the Anchorage Rocks for Autism acoustic nights, and every weekend shows will be hosted at Anchorage Community Works or Hard Rock Cafe. The profit made by all these concerts will go directly to FOCUS Outreach, an organization based in Eagle River.

This is the sixth year that Anchorage has had Rocks for Autism shows, with each year showing growth in the music community. Sarah Pederson, the owner of concert commission company Family Tree Presents, has witnessed this growth and seen what the community can do to help donate to FOCUS.

“Between the musicians who donate their time, the venues who give their space and the people who attend and give their donations, it always shows how Anchorage cares for the music community and the Rocks for Autism shows. We’ve raised around $40,000 total in the last six years, and hope to only keep that number growing,” Pederson said.

So far this month, two shows have already been held for the Rocks for Autism event. The all-ages concert featured bands Atlas, Old Hounds, Bad Friday, Bottlecaps for Dollars and Bulletproof Jay at ACW last Saturday. Also, Koots’ first acoustic show featured The Eternal Cowboys and Diana Z & Shannon Marie.

“I’ve been attending Rocks for Autism shows for probably around four years now. It’s really great to see the music community grow and have more people attend these shows to support a really great cause,” Kevin Kuhn, a show attendee at the ACW concert, said.

While these shows have passed, there are still two acoustic shows at Koot’s and one at Hard Rock Cafe that can be attended and given support to. On April 17, Jared Woods and Robb Rood will play an acoustic night at Koot’s, and on April 24 the Rebel Blues Band will play. Along with those, Hard Rock Cafe will host a benefit concert on April 29, with ATF, Transitions, The High Pets, Granddad, Devilwitch, Griffith and RunLikeHell performing. Tickets cost $10, but any donation amount further is accepted as well.

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“We are more established now, with having held the same event in the same month for six years in a row so people know it’s coming. People in Alaska are very generous, and I hope to see the Rocks for Autism shows only get bigger and better,” Pederson said.

At the end of the month, Family Tree Presents and the Anchorage Rocks for Autism committee will announce the amount of money raised for FOCUS in 2017. With multiple shows still yet to happen, there is an opportunity for anyone to attend and donate while enjoying some of the local music that Anchorage has to offer.