Dear NOLA: A Concert for New Orleans

Air-Traffic Control and the Future of Music Coalition are institutions that exist to help musicians to play a part in social justice, having assembled a web of people and resources that allow them to more cohesively and effectively collaborate with each other and with other social institutions.

Bonerama. Dear New Orleans Benefit Concert. Photo by Elsa Hahne.

Bonerama. Photo by Elsa Hahne.

Since 2006, the two organizations have been teaming up for “artist activism” retreats in New Orleans. The retreats give artists—some already known for their activism, such as Tom Morello, Mike Mills of R.E.M., and Boots Riley of the Coup—an opportunity to interact with and directly benefit New Orleans and our people in this post-Katrina and BP oil disaster city.

Funds raised by the artists who participate in the concerts that end every retreat have even bought homes for New Orleans residents. One such notable resident is Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, with a home in the Musicians’ Village.

The 2011 retreat culminates in the “Dear NOLA: A Concert for New Orleans” a concert on Thursday, February 17 at the Blue Nile, with all proceeds benefiting Sweet Home New Orleans and the Gulf Restoration Network, local non-profits working to preserve our unique musical and cultural traditions and our environment, respectively.

The show Thursday night will feature Bonerama (the annual retreat concert house band) with guests Vernon Reid (of Living Colour fame) Cody ChesnuTT, DJ Spooky/That Subliminal Kid, Helen Bruner and Terry Jones, Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thomson of Tsunami, M1 of Dead Prez, Mirah, Sage Francis, Shawn King of DeVotchKa, Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave, and local Sunpie Barnes.

Blue Nile, 9 p.m., $10 advance, $15 door, more info.