Every year about this time, fans of the local band The Big Takeover know that the reggae/ska group organizes the annual “Shaking It for a Cause.” Event co-founder and band bassist, Rob Kissner, enlists other local bands to join them for a night of music with all proceeds from the door donated to Family of New Paltz. For the last seven years, the event has been an extension of the late night band scene, but this time around, there’s a twist: Shaking It for a Cause 2015 is going to be a Sunday afternoon-into-early-evening affair at Bacchus this Sunday, December 13 beginning at 3 p.m.
“A lot of what Family of New Paltz does is for families,” says Kissner. “So we decided it made sense to do it on a Sunday during the day this year so that it’s really completely family-friendly and open to everybody in the community. It’s an experiment, but I hope it works out.”
The whole thing started, he says, when The Big Takeover first began developing a following in the area about eight years ago. “We had just started off as a band, and we were doing pretty well locally. So we just said to ourselves, ‘Why not do a show for a good cause?’ We looked around and Family of New Paltz seemed to be the best choice. ”
Nobody was really sure what would happen that first year. “But I remember going there [to Family] after the show, before Christmas, with a check for about $800 or $900 and being able to walk around and see where the money was actually going to go; a room full of toys for kids, a lot of canned goods… the place felt like a Santa’s workshop. It was really cool to see that all the money we raised would go right to the cause and back into the community. So every year since, we’ve just said, ‘We’re going to do this.'”
There is a $5 cover charge to get in, with additional donations encouraged and appreciated. One hundred percent of the money goes to Family of New Paltz. Over the past seven years, the event has raised approximately $7,000 for the organization.
Attendees can order off the regular menu at Bacchus and the bar will be open.
The line-up will include five bands. Ratboy, Jr. will play first, at 3 p.m., says Kissner, followed by Dog On Fleas. Both groups are well known to a lot of people in the area for playing music that appeals to adults as well as kids. “It isn’t really children’s music,” says Kissner, “it’s for everyone. Kids take one thing out of it and the adults take another thing and both are equally happy.”
Each group will play a 45-minute set. The other bands performing are Bad Princess, the Good Luck Orchestra and The Big Takeover, all of which are familiar to club-goers in New Paltz and the surrounding areas.
Bad Princess plays an eclectic mix of original tunes and their own take on cover material. They bill themselves as an “absurdist bar rock band” that “resides in the vast space between Willie Nelson and Lil Wayne,” playing hip-hop, disco, pop, funk, bluegrass and jam. The four-piece Good Luck Orchestra plays “a kind of funk/soul thing,” according to Kissner, who says his own group, The Big Takeover, is known for reggae/ska/rocksteady music but lately has been calling it ska/boogie. “We kind of do our own thing but it’s all based around ska and reggae,” he explains.
Tara Mae Ebrahimian has done promotional work for the event since its start and she’s still involved in getting the word out. She says the name of the event originally came from a reference to “Shake It,” an original song by The Big Takeover, but emphasizes that Kissner likes to put the focus on all the bands who play, because they’re all donating their time and talents to benefit Family.
Another co-founder of the event was Aja Whitney of WDST Woodstock Radio.
Ebrahimian notes that the afternoon start time of the event this year is also good for people who don’t like to go out late at night; it allows perhaps a greater range of people this year who will be able to come out and enjoy the music.
More information about Family of New Paltz (located at 51 North Chestnut Street) is available by visiting their Facebook page, by calling (845) 255-8801 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. (The program in New Paltz operates under the umbrella of the Family of Woodstock organization.)
Bacchus is located at 4 South Chestnut Street in New Paltz.