Sound Scene Express

Musicians Inspired, Motivated and United Against Racism During Bloom-Fest

Bloom-Fest (Rock Against Racism)
January 16, 2015
Bloomfield, PA

Poster by Jordan Wong
Review and Photos by by Randy Jarosz

Three days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hundreds of music lovers packed 6 venues throughout Bloomfield, for a number of the same reasons King fought for in the 1960’s. 50 years later and many of the same injustices still exist.

With the recent cases of police brutality throughout the country against African Americans and insensitive comments made by a local public figure. Local musicians wanted to do what they do best and have a concert to raise awareness on the issue. The one show event turned into a whole evening with multiple venues.

For some musicians racism hits closer to home than others. Some experience it frequently, others have had friends that struggled with it, and many know about it only through the media.

Jazz musician Gene Stovall and host of the Howlers stage asked, “How do we address racism without addressing racism?” “If you don’t laugh at anything, you can’t cure anything,” he continues.

Jasiri X of 1Hood sang the song “Do We Need to Start a Riot?” Afterward he explained that the song is a question not a statement. “What do we have to do to get justice,” asked Jasiri, during 1Hood’s set at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern.

During Crystal Lee Morgan’s set at Runaway Studios, she brought out friend, jazz rock musician, Avi Diamond, who sang her song “Red Tape.” A piece that is personal to her, about classmate Jordan Miles. “He was brutally beaten by the police and I believe it was because he was black,” admits Diamond.

Musicians and artists who had experience with racism spoke about it and those that didn’t stuck to the their music. With a unique gathering like this in Pittsburgh it is a step closer to making a change permanently and an outlet to speak about race issues.

“We raised a nice chunk of change. We had a great time and the neighborhood was filled with a positive vibe,” said festival organizer Mary Jo Coll via the Facebook event page. All proceeds for the event will be going to the “We Change Pittsburgh” organization, dedicated to the fight for racial equality and social justice.

For at least one night musicians inspired, motivated and united against racism, something that can be done more often.

Self Cyphadeen at Poppy’s Bistro and Pub

Phat Man Dee at Howlers

Howlers Host Gene Stovall

André Costello and the Cool Minors at Howlers

Ghost Guts at Howlers

1Hood at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern

Paddy the Wanderer at The Shop

Crystal Lee Morgan at Runaway Studio

Avi Diamond at Runaway Studios

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