The latest effort to help Oklahoma in the aftermath of recent tornadoes is the just announced “Rock for Oklahoma” all-age concert to be held at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Arena on July 23 featuring Kings of Leon, Built to Spill, the Lips’ good friend Jackson Browne, the Lips themselves and special guests. $35 and $50 tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000. All proceeds go to central Oklahoma community organizations and charities.
“Shakespeare said ‘It is not enough to help the needy up, but to support them after,’” Wayne Coyne says in a media statement (via). “In our small way we are trying to not just be here at the moment of immediate need, but to stay and help with the rebuilding. After all, this is our home and they are us and we are them.”
Additionally, on May 13th – before the tornado struck – The Flaming Lips announced a T-shirt contest. In the wake of the storm the band redirected the profits from that project, promising “25% of sales from the Threadless pre-sale tee will go to the Oklahoma Red Cross” on May 23rd. The next day the benefit was upgraded to donate “100% of net proceeds” (the site currently reads “$10 [of $24.50] for every t-shirt sold” – it’s unclear if this is the amount the net profit totals per shirt, the rate has been changed again, or the site info is simply outdated).
To pre-order the winning helping the Red Cross visit here.
Wayne Coyne visited Moore after the May 20th tragedy, captured on video by KJRH 2 News. “It’s a powerful, powerful scene,” Coyne reflected to KJRH while surveying the wreckage at Plaza Towers Elementary. “You know that people lost their lives here. I mean it’s just — if you’re standing here, it’s a moving scene for sure.”
A second tornado hit Oklahoma City on May 31st, damaging Wayne Coyne’s property and flooding the Lips’ Pink Floor Studios. Coyne and co. tweeted and instagrammed updates that night – taking shelter underground, watching the water rise, a neighbor’s home catching fire – and the next day’s cleanup. Coyne is also one of many artists who expressed concern on social media for the Moore tornado.
Other musicians are helping recovery in Moore, Oklahoma by releasing benefit recordings and hosting relief concerts. May 29th’s “Music For Moore Concert” hosted three stages-worth of music at the Bricktown Events Center – including Deerpeople, The Evangelicals, Colourmusic, Beau Jennings, JD McPherson, rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson and many more. All proceeds from the $25 ticket sales are being donated to Red Cross OKC. Also that night, Blake Shelton’s “Healing in the Heartland” raised $6 million for United Way of Central Oklahoma. The sold-out, televised concert featured Blake, Usher, Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Luke Bryan.
Last month Deerpeople, Gentle Ghost, New Fumes and 19 other artists – including the latter’s new side project, Bird Flower – quickly assembled Reaching Out: A Relief Album By Oklahoma Artists. Released on May 27th as a bandcamp download, the compilation dedicates all money “directly to the Red Cross tornado relief fund.” Likewise, Sugar Free Allstars – another local group – have written, recorded and issued a new single in response to the damage, “(Look for the) Good People.” “100% of the proceeds from the download of this song will go to the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma to aid in the disaster relief from the tornados,” they pledge on their bandcamp page. Depth & Current have released a new download, a cover of the Bee Gees’ track “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.” All profits go to one of their fans “who lost everything in the May 20 tornado that struck Moore.” Click on any of the above links to download these new releases and help the cause.
“I think the people of Oklahoma City are resilient, but I think it always happens in communities—people have the desire to help,” Coyne told The Daily Beast. “They have a sense that even though you may not know each other, we’re all one. I saw this happen in Boston, too, because I have friends there. If you’re even a person sitting at home, you’re compelled to do something. People forget that you could donate $10 to the Red Cross, and that’s all you need to do. If you could do that, that’s a beautiful way to help. But we can always help each other, and it shouldn’t always take a tragedy to make us realize this. If you can’t help the people of Moore, see how the people on your street are doing.”
Download songs from Reaching Out here.