Shaking It For a Cause returns for fifth year at Bacchus

Organizers and musicians contributing to the Shaking it for a Cause benefit for Family of New Paltz taking place on Dec. 8 at Bacchus in New Paltz (left to right): Jonny Monster of the Jonny Monster Band, Shaking it for a Cause co-founder Aja Whitney, Shaking it for a Cause co-founder and bass player in The Big Takeover Rob Kissel and Dave Ellison, who performs vocals and plays mandolin in Bad Princess. Not pictured: co-founder Tara Mae Ebrahimian. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

For the fifth year in a row, bands will take to the stage at Bacchus in New Paltz to play music for charity. The celebration known as Shaking It for a Cause will return on Dec. 8, organizers said. “This will be our fifth year,” said Rob Kissner, who helped organize the event. The big concert has traditionally been held right before the major holidays in December, when college students at SUNY New Paltz are still around. “We’ve been doing it every year, just kind of keeping it low-key.”

Shaking It is the brainchild of the people with New Paltz-based reggae band, The Big Takeover. According to Kissner, the bass player and a founding member of the band, the idea came from seeing the response they’ve gotten as a band.


“Pretty much it came down to we were bringing in a big crowd, when we were playing as The Big Takeover band itself. We were bringing a lot of people in throughout the area,” the bass player said. “We just wanted to give back to the community – just because we could.”

So for the last few years, the band has rounded up musicians and bands who are local favorites, got them to play, taken the door money and given it to Family of New Paltz. On average, the event has raised $1,000 each year — sometimes a little more, others less.

The lineup for this year will feature Fillet of Soul, The Big Takeover, Bad Princess, Johnny Monster Band and DJ Sterling.

Back in 2010, the event was a little larger than it had been or will be this year — it featured lineups of musicians at Bacchus Bar & Restaurant, Cafeteria coffeehouse, Oasis Café and Snug Harbor.

Tara Mae Ebrahimian, another of Shaking It’s organizers, said they tied donations to the cover charge at the door to give people options. It’ll take at least $5 minimum donation to get into Bacchus that Saturday night. But people also can give more.

“Whatever you can donate when you walk through the door is what we give to Family,” she said.

Family of New Paltz has been the chosen charity for the benefit show for years, in part, because of the variety of services they offer to people locally — but also because they’re uniquely equipped to get needy people in town the things they need.

“I try to give back to the local community. You do the best you can locally. And Family has always helped out a lot of people. It’s always a great thing to see when we bring the check there every year. We go there a couple of weeks before Christmas — and just to walk in and see all the toys around that’s going to be going to kids,” Kissner said.

Music begins at 9 p.m., when DJ Sterling kicks it off with some records. For more about the event, head to Facebook. For more about what Family of New Paltz does for the community, head to their page.