An internationally renowned Dayton band and its fans from around the world transformed an annual festival into a fundraiser to help those impacted by two major tragedies.
All and all, Matt Davis, a partner in Rockathon Records, said more than $28,000 was raised for victims of the Aug. 4 mass shooting and the 15 Memorial Day tornadoes as a result of Heedfest, a three-day gathering of Guided by Voices fans.
Events were held at Polish Club Picnic Grounds, The Brightside Music and Event Venue and the recently reopened Wings Sports Bar in Butler Twp.
The band and frontman Robert Pollard donated more than $13,000 in proceeds collected from the 10th annual Heedfest and $6,000 raised by a GoFundMe campaign to the Dayton Foundation’s Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund for victims of the 15 Memorial Day tornadoes.
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Davis said 400 fans from as far away as Australia and Belgium attended this year’s Heedfest, an event named for Rockathon Record partner Mike “Heed” Lipps.
Fans from around the world donated to the GoFundMe campaign, Davis said.
“They love Dayton because Bob is from Dayton, and Dayton is part of the story of Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices,” he said.
Band members interacted with fans through the festival, Davis said, including at a picnic held at the Polish Club.
Davis said Pollard and his band mates left Dayton on a European tour the day after the tornadoes and saw the devastation firsthand on the way to the airport.
They immediately wanted to help victims, he added.
“Robert Pollard is far more generous than people know,” Davis said. “They (fans) are inspired by his generosity and the band’s generosity.”
Sales of a poster created by GBV fan David VanMcAleer netted $1,250 for the foundation’s Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund for victims of the Aug. 4 mass shooting.
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Cleveland resident James O’Malley organized a silent auction and raffle for the Oregon District Tragedy Fund that raised $7,400.
“I was really upset when I heard that the shooting happened,” O’Malley said by phone. “There had to be something we could do all together. Everyone was very generous with their donations. It really blew me away how much money we raised.”
Donated items included fan memorabilia, rare recordings, items from Oregon District businesses and artwork by musician Tobin Sprout and Pollard, who founded Guided by Voices in 1983 in Dayton.
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O’Malley said the Gem City holds a special place in the hearts of GBV fans.
“As a community, we all recognize that Dayton is an important place. It is a place we all convene,” O’Malley said. “Everybody wanted to do something for the community.”