The Willow to host Harvey flood relief concert

Emma Gilheany

Well-known local performers, including Cyril Neville, Rockin Dopsie Jr., Hot 8 Brass Band, Michael O’Hara and more are set to come together at The Willow starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, for a benefit concert to raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

All of the ticket sales from the event, which will come in the form of a $10 minimum entrance fee (though concert-goers may donate more), will go to the Houston Food Bank, and there will also be a truck collecting food and clothing donations at the event.

The hurricane, which struck southeastern Texas on Aug. 25 is believed to be responsible for at least 70 deaths in the United States and could potentially break Hurricane Katrina’s record for the costliest natural disaster in United States history.

The idea for the concert came after an event The Willow planned to host on Aug. 28 was cancelled due to the inclement weather caused by Harvey. It was a charity event called the Rock Against Racism, which benefited the Southern Poverty Law Center. When the event was canceled, Claude Bryant, one of the musicians, as well as a manager at The Willow, had the idea to host this event instead. They started planning it the next day.

The musicians from the Rock Against Racism agreed to participate in the flood relief concert, and all have agreed to send the money they would have earned to hurricane victims, according to Jared Mintz, the production manager of The Willow.

All of the musicians “want the money to go to the best place possible,” Mintz said.

Aaron Cohen Band is the youngest of the groups playing at the concert. Cohen described their style of music as “rock ‘n’ roll grit meets Detroit soul and electric NOLA brass.”

“We’re thrilled to be taking an active role in the Houston recovery process, and honored to share the stage with musicians we admire,” Aaron Cohen, who offers vocals and guitar for Aaron Cohen Band, said.

Most of the performers at the event are local, so they “have a lot of sympathy for Houston because of Katrina,” Mintz said.

Cohen, who went to college in New Orleans but is originally from Detroit, said he had made many Houston connections after attending school here and knew people affected by the floods.

“The cities are inextricably linked, both geographically as major hubs in the Gulf South, and spiritually, as Houston held host to so many New Orleanians following Katrina. That’s why it’s so important for the New Orleans community, especially the artistic community, to give back as they face this challenge,” Cohen said.

Tuesday’s concert will be for audiences age 18 and up.