Many believe that music has a strong healing power, but rarely is it seen in a concrete way. Nonprofit organization To Write Love On Her Arms has changed that by providing a way for musicians and music fans to come together in a fight against addiction, suicide, depression and self-injury.
The foundation began with a true story written by founder Jamie Tworkowski. The story chronicled the struggles of his friend Renee Yohe, and how her friends joined together to help her when she was denied admittance to rehab. Part of their strategy to help heal Renee was to bring her to concerts, so it’s no surprise that TWLOHA are present at many a concert and music festival.
We caught up with Director of Communications/Benefit Coordinator Chloe Grabinski at Bamboozle 2012 to chat about the foundation’s newest campaign and what they plan to do with the million dollars they were recently awarded by CHASE Community Giving.
OS: This is your fifth year at Bamboozle”how has your weekend been?
CG: It’s been so great. It’s been good to see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of our friends are playing. Our Fears vs. Dreams campaign has been huge and the response has been great. We love The Bamboozle!
OS: Tell us about your Fears vs. Dreams campaign and how it’s been going.
CG: We started it last year at Warped Tour. We’re inviting people to share with us what their biggest fear and greatest dream are. We do that in a few ways: we’ve got these cards they can fill out, or we have them write it on a whiteboard and then take a portrait of it.
OS: The foundation was recently awarded a $1 million grant from CHASE. What are the plans for that money?
CG: We’ve got a bunch of different things we’re using it for, including treatment and recovery, some counseling scholarships, we’ve been doing a lot of site visits to other organizations and nonprofits so we can build a relationship to have them be a referral and so we can donate to them. We launched our Hope Goes Surfing campaign, which is our attempt to bring our message to the surfing community. And then it’s also going to programs we already have, like our Storytellers high school campaign, university chapters, our Move Community conferences, doing more events…it’s going to a lot of places. It’s allowing us to do so much more.
I arrived at The Bamboozle Festival on Friday evening, just as the sun was setting over the Jersey Shore. I’d never been to Asbury Park before, so I decided to get the lay of the land before I wandered over to see Incubus. The layout of the festival was much different than it’s been the past few years, since it moved a bit farther south from its past location at the Giants’ Stadium parking lot.
I caught the second half of Incubus’ set and continue to be amazed at how tight they are as a live band…they’re as good as their recordings, if not better. One awesome thing about having the festival at Asbury Park is having the Main Stage right on the beach. Watching Incubus play “Wish You Were Here” with my toes in the sand was pretty cool.
It’s always surprising how many more people come to Bamboozle on the second day. By the time I arrived on Saturday afternoon, the beach was packed and people were ready to party. There was a rave on the sand, The All-American Rejects were rockin’ out on the Main Stage and I was headed to the Berkeley Hotel to interview Dan Didier, drummer for The Promise Ring. He had some interesting and insightful things to say about the band’s reunion and upcoming tour. Keep an eye on OurStage Magazine for the full article!
After the interview, I ran over to the Main Stage to catch Jimmy Eat World and My Chemical Romance (original headlining act Blink-182 had to pull out last minute due to a medical emergency, so My Chem filled in). Jimmy Eat World played a full set of classics and singles like “The Middle” and “Bleed American.” They put on a fun and dynamic performance that clearly satisfied their hungry fanbase.
My Chemical Romance has been one of my favorite bands for ten years, so it was a special treat to catch them at Bamboozle and performing in their home state of New Jersey. Playing a great mix of their four albums, the guys were as energetic as ever. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a problem with the live mix, so it was almost impossible to hear them for about half of the set. Even so, the crowd was certainly happy to see them and pleased with the eclectic setlist.
Winter is a good time for recording. Tours slow down, the weather is a drag and despite the dreary landscapes, it seems the creative juices flow so come spring we’re presented with more new releases than our iPods can stand”just in time for summer touring season. Okay so maybe there is a method to the cycle, but come February we get a renewed sense of excitement all the same. Recently we’ve been putting out a call on Twitter and Facebook asking which OurStage artists have new material in the works or recently hitting the shelves. In addition to some great responses, we’ve also been doing a little digging ourselves, and have come up with a great list of EPs, LPs and singles that are either available now or will be in the near future.
So read on to check out the latest from your OurStage favs. Did we miss you? First of all shame on you for not @replying us on Twitter. We forgive you, though, and you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your news. Add us to your mailing lists, we’d love to hear from you!
Daphne Willis – This songstress is no stranger to the OurStage charts, and has the achievements to prove it, including a 6 week stint at Number 1 on the Best of Pop chart. We’re sure her new LP Because I Can”an album swirling with inventive melodies carrying straight-to-the-heart lyrics”will provide even more badges. Leading up to Because I Can‘s release, 3 Digital 45s will be released in advance of the full-length record. The second of the 3 “Do What You Want” dropped this past Tuesday and can be found on Daphne’s Web site as well as the option to pre-order the album.
Daphne Willis – Because I Can, April 19, www.daphnewillis.com
Bronze Radio Return – You may remember this fok-rock group’s unique moniker from the John Mayer Side Stage Warfare Competition when they won the coveted side stage performance in Massachusetts (which you can watch a video of here). When an advance copy of their new album SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! showed up in our inbox one morning we spent the rest of the day dance dance dancing in our chairs. Don’t believe us? Grab an EXCLUSIVE free download of the release’s title track “Shake Shake Shake” on the OurStage Facebook tab for Editor Picks. Don’t want to wait until March? Head over to BRR’s Web site, where pre-order for the album began Feb. 1.
Tamppa – There’s no doubt about it, Brooklyn-based rapper Tamppa has skills. He also hustles, and has won a mentoring session with Columbia Records, editorial feature on Vibe.com as well as other various hip hop accolades here on OurStage, and has even shouted us out in his submission to be included in an upcoming T Pain mixtape. So we weren’t surprised when he dropped us a line to tell us about his HUNGERPAIN vol. 1 mixtape coming up, which is hosted by Sha Stimuli & Dj Young Cee of shady/Gunit. He’s got more friends on there than we can name, but you can pick it up for free when its released mid February on a variety of sites.
A’tris – OurStage resident rockers A’tris have been a constant fixture on the OS charts since debuting in the Music Video Channel in 2008. Since then they’ve gained recognition in genres across the board, including alternative, electronic, electro-pop and rock, in addition to going strong with videos. Suffice it to say they’ve got a ton of material, so their plan for putting out a new demo every week in 2011 seems totally appropriate. The band is asking for fans feedback on each track and will eventually use all that input to put together their new album. You can read blog posts and descriptions of the demos when they’re released each week right on A’tris’ Web site.
A’tris – One Demo Released Every Week of 2011 – www.atrishq.com
Wes Kirkpatrick – Another OurStage favorite, Wes has dazzled fans with his songwriting abilities for years, graced the OurStage magazine more than once, opened for HANSON after winning the Shout It Out With HANSON Competition and supported acts like Blues Traveler, State Radio and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. Get a sneak peak of Wes’ upcoming release Naps & Nightmares by listening to a new track of the album “Where You Are” on his Web site.
Wes Kirkpatrick – Naps & Nightmares – March 1 – www.weskirkpatrick.com
Stacy Clark – OurStage has been a long time supporter of this Southern California singer, and is even quoted in her release promoing her upcoming album Connect The Dots. While the album is available for download on iTunes now, Connect The Dots official worldwide release is scheduled for Feb 15. The do-gooder has also made one of the tracks, “Not Enough” available for free download in conjunction with To Write Love On Her Arms, to which a donation will be made for every download.
Check out these other releases from OurStage artists
During the weekend of May 1st, I was fortunate enough to catch The Bamboozle festival in East Rutherford, NJ. Amid all the great headlining artists and line-up of up-and-coming acts, there were many vendors on hand with the purpose of either selling a product or sharing a message. I had the special opportunity to sit down and chat with Chris Youngblood of To Write Love On Her Arms about their non-profit organization and their mission. For those of you who don’t know, TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. They sparked this idea to help encourage and drive people in their treatment and recovery process.
IW: Can you introduce yourself and tell us what TWLOHA is all about?
CY: My name is Chris Youngblood. I’m the director of new media for To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). TWLOHA is a non-profit organization addressing suicide, addiction, depression and self-injury, and we have been around for about 4 years” this is our 3rd year at Bamboozle. Basically, [we] started off as an original story about one single girl going through a sobriety recovery process. We printed some shirts with TWLOHA on them to help fund her treatment and recovery. Originally 200 shirts were printed and we were lucky enough to have Jon Foreman from Switchfoot be one of the first to wear it. He spread the word while playing a show one night and from there we got tons of positive feedback and messages reaching out from people over MySpace. Four years later, we became a 501c3 (non profit), responded to over 150,000 messages around the world and donated over $700,000 into treatment and recovery around the world.
IW: What are some stories that you’ve been personally touched by?
CY: One touching moment was in 2008 at Warped Tour. This girl was screaming in my ear because we could barely hear each other ” she had tears streaming down her face because her brother had committed suicide two months before this. To know that she had found some sort of hope in our message meant the absolute world to me ¦ those things stick with you and helps get you out of bed and motivated to keep pushing everyday.
The weekend of May 1st and 2nd was the annual The Bamboozle festival held at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. OurStage had the opportunity to attend and attain coverage on all the great performances of the weekend as well as interview some up-and-comers and industry heavyweights. Let’s break down both days and give you the scoop on everything that happened behind the scenes!
We arrived at the Meadowlands Sports Complex around noon only to see hundreds of concertgoers waiting in line to enter the festival. The view of the grounds from the parking lot was just a small teaser with carnival rides running alongside different sized stages, hundreds of food & beverage vendors and merchandise tents lining the outskirts of the festival. You could feel the energy of the surprisingly diverse and eccentric crowd within the gates just minutes after doors opened. Most years attendees of festivals such as Warped Tour or Bamboozle are of a younger demographic, and while this year was no exception, there were many different types (and ages) of people all there for one reason and one reason alone, the love of music and sharing it with family and friends.
Upon entering the media tent area, we were welcomed by pop-punkers and OurStagers Artist Vs. Poet for the first interview of the day. After meeting these extremely humble and happy bunch we had a feeling the rest of the weekend would follow this path; and it did. We had the opportunity to catch up the trio that make up VersaEmerge mid-way through the day. They had just finished their set and were still pumped from the great crowd response they received that afternoon. Alongside those two great interviews, we got a few words from We Came As Romans, Chiodos and Paper Tongues. Our blogger Internet Warrior also had the special privilege to speak with Chris Youngblood who is the creative director of To Write Love On Her Arms. If you haven’t had the chance or don’t know what TWLOHA is all about, then please visit their Web site and check out their mission statement and help spread the word.
Day 1 was mostly spent interviewing and meeting many young artists as well as a certain group that you may have heard of, Hanson. Alison had the opportunity to get a few words in with Isaac and Zac. Being behind the poles all day, we also got tons of cool footage and photos for you readers, like this shot of Paramore shooting video shorts with silly string.
After the hectic day of interviewing, we were able to catch a few performances to end our night”solid headliners on the Skate and Surf Stage including Angels & Airwaves, Ke$ha and Paramore (to end the night). Right next door was the Sony Bloggie Stage that housed a reunion of Something Corporate and Canada’s hip hop heartthrob Drake, who brought on guests Birdman and 14-year-old Chelsea, a fan in the audience, onstage.
From the beginning of the day, the atmosphere was quite different than day 1. Going from a hectic and crazy filled Saturday with tons of high energy in the air to a laid back feeling on Sunday was a great follow up. The headliners that held the down the fort on the Skate and Surf and the Sony Bloggie Stages consisted of Say Anything, Matt And Kim, MGMT, Mute Math, Girl Talk and Weezer, appealing to the diverse demographic that had been troopers in the heat all weekend.
Day 2 settled down a bit more for us at the OurStage camp, giving us the chance to catch some great live performances of Motion City Soundtrack, Ke$ha (who performed both days), The Morning Of, Mute Math, Matt And Kim, viral video pioneers OK GOo, and a special reunion show by Boston’s Piebald, who we also got a chance to sit down and chat with. Along with a special interview with Piebald, we caught up OurStage artists Lovedrug and Death On Two Wheels along with The Morning Of, who will all be featured in the video we’ll be sharing with you later!
The Bamboozle festival this year brought forth an extremely diverse and eclectic line-up ranging from indie rock and folk singers to heavy hitting hardcore and metal acts to club bumpin’ DJs. It was a sure hit and gave many different types of people something to enjoy and possibly turn new people onto genres they never gave the time of day before. Just like Blake of VersaEmerge said Bamboozle is like Warped Tour but crammed into two days making it crazy and just fun.
Be sure to check back for video footage featuring interviews from Artist Vs. Poet, VersaEmerge, We Came As Romans, Paper Tongues, Chiodos, Death On 2 Wheels, The Morning Of, Piebald, Chris Youngblood of To Write Love On Her Arms, and of course, Hanson.
Were you at The Bamboozle festival this past weekend, too? Tell us about it! We want to hear your experience and any fun stories you may have!