Sneakers & Speakers SXSW Showcase by Nate Duval
South by Southwest is happening next week and the only event that you should really care about is the Sneakers and Speakers benefit concert happening at Club Deville. Why a benefit concert? Because this concert is headlined by Stak5 aka San Antonio Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson.
That’s right Stephen Jackson is performing at SXSW on March 13th, and he is headlining a show.
How did this exactly happen?
Well Sneakers and Speakers is the benefit concert series that San Antonio Spurs three point gunner Matt Bonner and his brother Luke have been putting on in their home state of New Hampshire for over five years. With Luke having played for the D-League’s Austin Toros and Matt being only a stone’s throw away in San Antonio, bringing Sneakers and Speakers to SXSW was inevitable. All of the money raised from the show will benefit Matt and Luke’s charity the Rock on Foundation.
Matt is no stranger to SXSW, having once dressing up as his alter ego, ‘Coach B’, and hanging out with his theme music band, The Bodega Girls but this will be the first time he will be hosting a show at the festival. To find out more about Sneakers and Speakers and Stephen Jackson’s involvement I got in touch with Luke Bonner.
How did you and Matt get this eclectic group of musicians to perform at the show?
We’ve been hosting annual charitable music events back in New Hampshire since 2007, so throughout that time we’ve developed a network of connections and relationships within the music industry. We’ve been wanting to do an event during SXSW for a few years, and, this year, our friend Michael Terrazas (Club Deville) came through to help us land a great venue. Once we had the venue locked in, we started considering bands. I initially contacted artists who we have existing relationships with, but also emailed other bands, managers, and booking agents. People seemed to love the idea, and wanted to get involved, so it came together nicely. We wanted to be certain to have a diverse line-up, and I think we achieved that.
Why make this a free event? Is it mainly to spread the word about the Rock on Foundation?
Certainly, this is a great promotional tool to create some recognition for the Rock On Foundation. We started the organization in late December (2012), so we’re a brand new entity. As such, we thought it would be great to burst onto the scene with an awesome SXSW showcase. During SXSW, it seems music fans have unlimited options, creating a lot of competition between showcases. We wanted to do everything we could to be the most appealing showcase of the day.
Plus, we were able to receive some funding for this event through sponsorship, and the bands are playing free of charge. We thought it would be best to keep entry free, and trust that people will contribute what they can at the door to support the nonprofit. There’s a suggested donation of $5 per entry.
What are your own personal goals for the Rock on Foundation?
My short term goals are to create a scholarship program for high school graduates. We want to create two types of scholarships: one athletic based and one art based. Basically, one is meant to support those interested in pursuing a career in athletics. Candidates should demonstrate a commitment and passion toward sports. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an athlete. This could be someone who was the manager of his or her high school sports team and is interested in having a front office job or being a coach. The other will be an art scholarship for someone who demonstrates a commitment and passion toward his or her craft–could be a painter, musician, writer, actor, etc. This scholarship is meant to aid those who excel creatively and provide support to help them reach their full potential.
In terms of the big picture, we want to be able to operate fundraisers in creative ways. So, our fundraisers will be consistent with our mission–concerts, basketball tournaments, art galleries, etc. I’d like to get to the point where our events bring an economic boost to whatever town is hosting them. Furthermore, money that comes in from these events will be reinvested into the community by being distributed to existing nonprofits who operate artistic and/or athletic programs and are in need of aid.
That’s great to hear. If people, can’t get to the show how else can they support the Rock On Foundation?
You can support Rock On by attending our fundraising events. Stay up to date on our activities by liking our Facebook page. We’re currently in the process of planning an event to be held this July in Portsmouth, NH. Additionally, donations are accepted any time. If you’re interested in making a contribution, you can do so at any of our events or by emailing [email protected] or checking out https://www.facebook.com/RockOnFoundation.
Also, another way to support Rock On Foundation is to purchase this must-have t-shirt.
How “easy” was it to get Steven Jackson to perform?
Pretty easy, actually. A while back, Matt mentioned to Stephen that we might try to host a showcase during SXSW. Stephen gave his word that he would perform if we actually followed through with such an event. Well, it’s happening.
Since you sometimes are known as the moniker Big Hug – will you be dropping some verses w/ Stak5?
For those who live under a rock, Big Hug is my rap name. Sadly, Big Hug has been retired for a few years, so I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I’d love to get a chance to be Stak5’s hype man, though. But, that’s probably unlikely too (sigh).
I noticed that PF Flyers which is owned by New Balance is a sponsor – will Matt be rocking PF Flyers on the court soon? Perhaps he will keep it true old school with the Bob Cousy’s?
I don’t know that he’ll be rocking the Cousy’s on the court, but maybe he’ll give the Benny the Jet Rodriguez’s a try.
To be completely honest, PF Flyers asked me for Matt’s shoe size, but I gave them my size instead. So, no, he won’t be wearing the Cousy’s anytime soon. You might catch them on my feet at a Brighton YMCA men’s league game though.
For more info on the Sneakers and Speakers benefit concert at SXSW check out the event’s blog and follow Luke on Twitter.