WATCH: Dayton musicians come together for virtual concert to help Ohio restaurant workers

More than three months into the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, nearly all of the concerts scheduled to take place over the course of the summer have been canceled, leaving many frequent concertgoers searching for new ways to fulfill their desire to see live music.


To satisfy this need for live music (without risking the health and well-being of others, of course), many local business leaders and creatives have come up with inventive ways for music fans to receive their fix.

Tip Jar: A Show of Thanks is a collaborative concert series featuring Dayton musicians, with proceeds from the event benefiting the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

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The event was originally broadcast on Saturday, May 30, on's Facebook page. Because the original air date fell on the first night of the Dayton protests in response to the death of George Floyd, organizers have scheduled a replay date for the benefit concert. The replay date will be on Thursday, July 9, from 8-9:30 p.m. This will be a rebroadcast of the original show.

When the event originally aired on’s Facebook page and other platforms, it drew tens of thousands of viewers and raised over $5,000.

Tip Jar was organized by Chris Dimmick of Tender Mercy and the Idea Collective, Chad Wilson of Ambient Productions, Libby Ballengee of Venus Child Productions and and Zac Pitts of Sound Valley Dayton.

Dimmick, a partner at the Idea Collective, managing partner at Tender Mercy and co-founder of TRUFL, was inspired to create this virtual fundraising event after learning of Couch Fest of Springfield. The event, hosted shortly after the shutdown went into effect, featured the performances of several local musicians and bands in a smaller capacity in order to follow social distancing mandates.

“Obviously we were really excited about this project and bringing awareness to the fun that was available to hospitality workers and also raising those resources,” Dimmick said. “And, obviously, the date of May 30 turned out to be a little more important in other areas of our community. So, we felt that there were other priorities that day and that week, and we probably didn't get the exposure that we were hoping for. We're excited to bring some positivity and excitement to local music and continue to raise funds for hospitality workers in the county.”

Ballengee of Venus Child Productions and also acknowledges the challenges presented by the original airing of the virtual concert.

“We had planned the premiere on May 30, which ended up being the first weekend of the George Floyd protests,” said Ballengee. “Most people were understandably focused on the protests and the extremely important issue of racial justice, so it didn’t feel like the right time to really push for donations to help support our restaurant community.”

Aside from the George Floyd protests, the coronavirus pandemic has affected even more local businesses and restaurants since the original airing, in turn prompting organizers to push the event again to provide necessary aid to local restaurants and their workers.

“Since then, the coronavirus has spread even more, and restaurants and their workers continue to struggle to make ends meet,” said Ballengee. “We wanted to replay this tribute to them, and our amazing musicians, to raise additional funds and lift people’s spirits. This town thrives on music, and we hope seeing how talented this next generation is will give Daytonians hope and something to look forward to when we are allowed to have live music again.”

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The performances were pre-recorded and emceed by Pitts from Sound Valley and Ballengee of Venus Child Productions and The show operates in a sort of telethon fashion, with Ballengee and Pitts encouraging viewers to contribute to the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. All of the performances took place at Tender Mercy, The Brightside Music & Event Venue, Ned Peppers Bar and Toxic Brew Company.

“So you know, any time we do any kind of event — put time and energy into something big — I always try to work with some nonprofit with ties to a cause of some sort,” Dimmick said. “So in this case, [this cause] is obviously near and dear to my heart as a hospitality operator and owner. You know, I had just seen a lot of folks that, you know, were having a hard time with unemployment, or weren't qualifying or it was slow to come in. And, you know, my heart was going out to those folks. And so we said, well, hospitality staff and employees are going through a tough time that have been furloughed and the event planning just kind of took off from there.”

Dimmick says that the production went above and beyond to ensure the safety of all crew members while filming the Tip Jar.

“We ran a really tight production crew of around three people and then spaced the artists call times out,” Dimmick said. “We were fortunate enough to be able to also shine some light on some great venues in town. So everyone masked up and we took temperatures and tried to stick to, for the most part, individual solo artists. I had some friends that we thought would be great for the show that were in bands and so we scheduled them at venues where we could spread out efficiently and wouldn’t have to cram people into the same space. So it was somewhat of a challenge, but we pulled it off.”

For the organizers of the event, it was important to showcase bands and musicians from every genre and background that they could in order to paint a more complete picture of Dayton’s music scene. And, as Ballengee points out, the roster of musicians also reflects the desire of the organizers to showcase newer and emerging talents in Dayton’s music scene.

“Coming up with the list of artists was also a collaborative effort,” said Ballengee. “We wanted to be as diversified as we could possibly manage. We really wanted to shine a light on the next generation. Several high school students were included in this production because they missed out on so much with school canceled. We wanted them to be able to see themselves in this production.”

Kevin Carter, a cyber security expert and rapper from Dayton, is one of the featured performers in the Tip Jar event. Carter has gained notoriety in the past for his song “Dayton Strong” which contains an excerpt from a speech that comedian Dave Chappelle used to open Gem City Shine, a fundraiser held last year in the wake of the Oregon District shooting. Carter has been an active musician in Dayton’s music scene for the past decade.

“My role [in the music scene] is to inspire and bridge the gap for those who don't really know what hip hop is so they don’t just assume what hip hop is,” said Carter. “It’s also to just bring awareness to what's going on in the world, as well as in our city right now. Overall, I want to bring everybody together regardless of genre of music.”

In the past, Carter has organized events like the For Dayton By Dayton concert, always striving to bring local musicians together under one roof. Enriching the community through local music is at least one way that the rapper can help revitalize the city - and the Tip Jar event proved to be yet another avenue for Carter’s positive thinking.

“I know, these people,” said Carter. “So I want to be able to help out in any way I can. In this way I can. So it was a no brainer for me.”

Currently, the rapper is working on another album. Take a listen to his full discography by visiting his Spotify.

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The following musicians performed during the Tip Jar virtual event:


Nasty Bingo 

The Story Changes, featuring members of Hawthorne Heights 

The Kiwis

- Jessica Hung, Concert Master of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra

- Kevin Carter featuring Valerie (performs "Dayton Strong" song)

- Allison Justice of The Katawicks (The Katawicks won the Dayton Battle of the Bands)

- Tino

- Paige Beller

Elijah Seabrook 

- Amber Hargett

- Mariah J


- Zack Sliver & Adam West


The goal of the show is to raise at least $100,000 for restaurant workers in Montgomery and Greene counties through the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The fund is being managed by the Dayton Foundation. So far, over $80,000 has been raised for restaurant workers through this particular effort.

For those who wish to donate to the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, they can do so by visiting the Dayton Foundation's website. If you are a restaurant worker in need of monetary help, you can apply for this relief by visiting the relief fund's website.

The musicians performing throughout the virtual show will also have the opportunity to receive some much-needed economic relief. Those who are performing in the Tip Jar event have the opportunity to receive some relief through Culture Works, a nonprofit arts organization in Dayton, and through the production budget of the entire operation.

“We spoke with Lisa Hanson (the Chief Executive Director of Culture Works) very early on about partnering with them on this event so that the artists could have some kind of compensation for their time because they equally lost opportunities through all of that,” said Dimmick. “So a combination of our production budget and the Culture Works grants have been able to support participating artists as they are in need.”

For more information about the event, visit the event page on Facebook.


What: Replay date of Tip Jar: A Show of Thanks

When: Thursday, July 9, from 8-9:30 p.m.

Where: Streaming on's Facebook page.

More info: Facebook event details

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