Concerts benefit Misquamicut businesses and residents hurt by storm Sandy

Wicked Peach
Wicked Peach Tom Bombria

There are probably victims of catastrophic hurricanes, from across decades, who feel a bit indignant that upstart Sandy was the first such disaster to be deigned "a superstorm."

It's not a contest, though - and folks from Massachusetts all the way down the Atlantic Seaboard are still reeling from Sandy's Halloween-week visit. Various relief efforts continue unabated and, on Sunday in Westerly's Knickerbocker Cafe, a variety of area music acts will perform at Bash for the Beach I.

Sponsored by the Westerly Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce, it will be the first of a two-part concert series benefitting businesses and residents hit hardest on the Misquamicut Beach shoreline. Rock N' Soul Revue, Funk Bucket, Wicked Peach, High Definition and No Shame are among the acts scheduled to appear.

Bash for the Beach II, sponsored by the Misquamicut Business Association, is slated for Dec. 7 and will also take place at the Knickerbocker. Artists on that bill include Equinox, Never Enuff, Hope Road and the Beach Band.

Jennifer Selvidio, coordinator for Bash I, is a former Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber board member with numerous contacts from her days arranging similar events. She says she was approaced to help out by Lisa Konicki, executive director of the chamber, and jumped at the chance.

Selvidio has also worked extensively over the years with Caswell Cooke, president of the Misquamicut Business Association. When she learned that outfit was also planning a benefit, she says they joined forces: "It seemed a natural idea, and it can only help the overall cause."

She also admits the whole process was remarkably easy to pull off. First, she reached out to the Knickerbocker Cafe, Westerly's historic live music club.

"They completely opened their doors to us. It was completely gratifying," Selvidio says.

The next step was to reach out to artists - and it was similarly rewarding.

"I reached out to seven bands, and five of them were immediately, like, 'What time do you need us, and where do we need to be?'

"Even Wicked Peach, who are from a little farther away in Connecticut, said they just wanted to be part of the cause. It was a very amazing experience across the board. Musicians in general are pretty generous, but the bands around here feel very tied to the area," she says.

To that end, Chris Daniels of the Rock N' Soul Revue says, "The beaches and many of the businesses there have been part of our lives since we were teenagers. Sandy brought an unprecedented level of damage to Misquamicut. We're pleased to do our part to help the businesses get back on their feet, and we're ready to rock the town and pull the community together for this effort."

Selvidio says, "This is absolutely gratifying to be a part of. These events are taking place at absolutely no cost, so all the proceeds are going to help. One-hundred percent of the money goes into the cause."

Bash for the Beach I, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, Knickerbocker Cafe, 35 Railroad Ave., Westerly; $15 donation; (401) 596-4225, theknickerbockercafe.com, westerlychamber.org.

Bash for the Beach II, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Dec. 7, Knickerbocker Cafe, 35 Railroad Ave., Westerly; $15 donation; (401) 596-4225, theknickerbockercafe.com, misquamicutrelieffund.com.

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