‘Tis the season for charity concerts and incredible one-off performances that benefit causes in need of extra attention and support right now. Hit incredibly hard by the unfathomable Ghost Ship tragedy that occurred earlier this month, Oakland has been home to quite a few of these events. Though the pain ran deep throughout the community, the heartbreaking loss brought out the best in those who were directly and indirectly affected by the fire.
Scheduled almost serendipitously during a jam-packed week full of relief benefits, charity auctions and various shows dedicated in memory to those involved in the Ghost Ship fire, a completely separate but equally amazing charity show was scheduled at Oakland’s Starline Social Club. Aptly called GOODFest, the benefit series focused on two community-organized programs located in Oakland and New Orleans.
Emcee’d by Glynn Washington, the host of NPR’s “Snap Judgement,” the night featured performances by up-and-coming local talent Kelsey Lu, Grammy-nominated funk-fusion outfit Fantastic Negrito and Album of the Year contender Solange Knowles. Interspersed between sets, representatives from both organizations — New Orleans’ Son of a Saint and Oakland’s Ella Baker Center — opened up about their experience and involvement in their respective causes.
All of the artists spoke before and after their performance, sharing their personal anecdotes and sentiments to enhance the evening. They addressed their own connection to the events that recently transpired in Oakland as well as the current state of national affairs that have loomed heavily over the past few months. In a room of no more than 100 people, the energy was tangible. Everyone there knew they were part of something special, and while most fans seemed to be processing the magnitude of the situation in their own way, the resounding fact that you were there for a reason bigger than the moment was unanimous.