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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

arts music unhoused

Bloomington house venues collaborate for benefit show to help unhoused community

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Multiple Bloomington house venue owners worked together to present the Bloomington Care Package Concert, a benefit show organized to supply items to the unhoused community on Dec. 11. Brennan Wrin, resident of house venue Blackhouse, was the main organizer of the event. 

Local venues Blackhouse, Pussy Palace, The Reef, Yeti Gamble and The BMV (Bureau of Musical Violations) organized the free show that took place at Showalter Fountain from 3-5 p.m. Dec 11. All donations will be organized into care packages and handed out to people experiencing homelessness in Bloomington.  

Attendees donated soaps, clothes, hygiene products, canned food and more.  

“I saw this man who had a sign and all it said was ‘please help me’ and for whatever reason that hit my heart really hard to see that,” Wrin said. “This guy was asking me for help, and I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t have anything to give him.  

Wrin, an IU dropout, works with different businesses and said he felt the need to do something for Bloomington’s homeless community, so he began organizing this event for the past week. 

“I've seen that a lot of the homeless community here comes from the rehab facilities, so they actually bring people in by the busload, and they're not allowed to bring anything with them,” Wrin said. “They don't have phones, they don't have wallets, they don't have their social security, birth certificates, any of that stuff. And then when their time is up at these rehab facilities, they just put them back out onto the streets.” 

Related: [Bloomington’s Street Pennies celebrate first anniversary at The Bluebird]

Since the weather has turned cold and the homeless shelters are reaching capacity, Wrin said he wants to supply people living on the streets with care packages. He hopes the care package show becomes an annual event. 

“It's a bunch of venues coming together, creating a community event that will carry on even after we’re gone,” Wrin said. “We're hoping that the next generation of venues and fans and musicians will come together and repeat the same process and same idea of helping people out.” 

The event underwent multiple hardships, but the bands persevered. Wrin had to acquire a generator after a long drive to supply a power source for the bands. One band dropped out of the event due to a COVID-19 illness and another due to time conflicts. 

The first band, Tree to Stone, performed original songs “Rabbit Hole,” “Out in the Country” and “Vamp Kids” with a drum set resting on a rug. Staggering spectators withstood the cold and were asking bystanders what the event was about, along with fans of the band.  

Bassist Michael Gundolf played a black guitar with neon green strings. Everyone was dressed in their warmest attire while listening to the psych funk rock trio comprised of bassist Gundolf, guitarist and Ivy Tech graduate Lucas Bird and drummer and IUPUI senior Ethan Smith. 

Related: [Local music scene: Dec. 8-14]

“The homeless people aren't the problem,” Bird said. “It's homelessness that's the issue. In the end, those are just people in our community that could make some use of any amount of help and so that's why we think this is a good event to champion.” 

Bird said as a band, they feel this is the least they could do.  

“It's events like these that we want to normalize, that we want to be proponents of as a band,” he said. 

Dose Rose, an alternative rock band, persevered through technical difficulties and performed an acoustic version of its set list which vocalist, bassist and IU graduate Riley Huffman labeled “Dose Rose Lite Edition.” 

Since Huffman lost her voice, guitarist, vocalist and IU senior Vinny Greene heartily sang their original songs along with covers of “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Lithium” by Nirvana and “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet with a slow, raspy tone.  

Greene said the passion that the organizers had for this project was contagious. As someone who studies public policy, he said if he knew a solution to homelessness, he would be working on it instead of playing music.  

Perfect 10, a Bloomington metal punk band made up of IU students, performed originals and covers in front of the fountain. It covered “In Bloom” by Nirvana, “Zero” by The Smashing Pumpkins,” “My Own Summer (Shove It) by Deftones and its original “Rest in Peace with Me.”  

Vocalist and IU junior AJ Slowey sang with a raspy voice and started the band’s original song off by screaming. She said this was the first live performance of its recently recorded song. Drummer and IU sophomore Bonnibel Luna shook her head, curly hair flying everywhere.  

IU sophomore and guitarist Ian Marion said he works near Seminary Park and often interacts with the homeless community.  

“The idea of doing the care package thing, I think it's a really great way to show some love and try to at least do something,” he said. 

During the last set of the night, an Indiana University cop parked and exited his vehicle. As the crowd looked at each other with worried faces, the police officer held his hand up in a rock and roll salute and walked the other way.  

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