The second annual Seattle Musicians for Children’s Hospital (SMooCH) fundraiser was held at The Showbox at The Market. SMooCH is a benefit concert and auction put on to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital’s uncompensated care.
A number of talented Pacific Northwest artists came together to perform at this amazing event. This year’s line up included Shelby Earl, The Lonely Forest, Helio Sequence, Allen Stone, and surprise guests: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
The event kicked-off with a welcome by John Richards, KEXP morning show host and producer. He stated that not one of the bands would profit financially from the evening and when asked to perform every band replied with an immediate yes. How’s that for Seattle love? He then introduced Shelby Earl, the evening’s first act. Shelby Earl’s 2011 album “Burn the Boats” was deemed “The Number One Outstanding 2011 Album You Might Have Missed” by Amazon.
The Lonely Forest followed her set. Hailing from Anacortes, this indie rock band consists of an ensemble of four. The lead singer, John Van Deusen was awarded Seattle Weekly’s “Best Male Vocalist” accolade in 2011. During their set Van Deusen pointed out his mother in the audience and said, “Everyone say happy birthday to my mom.” After finishing their set it was Helio Sequence’s turn to entertain. The duo represented Beaverton, Oregon for the night. They are currently signed to Sub Pop Records, which was one of SMooCH 2013’s key event sponsors along with KEXP.
Before Allen Stone graced the stage with his soulful presence, Pete and Brandy Nordstrom--founders of SMooCH–introduced themselves, thanked everyone for coming, spoke about the cause, and introduced a short video detailing a family’s experience with uncompensated care. The Nordstroms themselves are no stranger to infant care at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. That’s where their son underwent open heart surgery at five weeks old.
The family in the video shared a touching story about their son who spent the first seven months of his life in the hospital. The cost of care was over $2 million dollars. If it weren’t for uncompensated care the family would be in extreme debt. Uncompensated care allows families to focus on their child’s health instead of additional stressors like hospital bills. Their son is now a happy and healthy baby, which was a relief to tear-filled audience members.
Post video, Richards from KEXP, Sub Pop Executive Vice President Megan Jasper, and the Nordstrom’s stood together for the “Raise Your Glass” portion of the evening. As Richards called out dollar amounts willing guests raised their glass’ to signal a willingness to donate. Those who donated were given a glow stick necklace. Dollar amounts were as follows: $25,000, $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, $500, $250, $100. A minimum of two people gave for each amount. Yes, someone nonchalantly raised their hand to donate $25,000. Outstanding. Over 40 individuals donated during that portion of the evening.
Funds were also raised via a silent auction which included items like a a week long fashion internship at Tory Burch (yes please), a Seattle Seahawks 12th Man experience (no way), a helmet signed by Russell Wilson (mine?), a dinner for eight at Canlis (mother may I!), etc.
Upon conclusion of “Raise Your Glass”, Allen Stone hit the stage. Allen Stone hails from Chewelah, Washington. He started his performance by asking a favor of the audience, “Do me a favor. Drop your egos and pride and you just jump on this energy train.” He also told audience members to think about their burdens, mentally ball them up into their fist, and throw them up on the stage so the band could carry them for the rest of the evening. I felt completely transported. Was I at a hippie concert in the 70’s or was I at a soulful underground performance in the Louisiana bayou? Both maybe? He does after all refer to himself as “a hippie with soul.”
SMooCH was sold out 3 days before the show. That was before the public was aware that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were the surprise guests, and what a great surprise. On Friday night Macklemore and Ryan Lewis played Madison Square Garden in New York City. On Saturday they were back in Seattle to perform at SMooCH. Of course Macklemore had to commence with “Thrift Shop.” He mentioned that SMooCH was his favorite benefit. Did I mention the stage dive with a toddler at the end? Later tweeting, “@macklemore: [the toddler] has been wanting to crowd surf all tour. She finally got her wish last night at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Benefit show. Perfect way to end the year.” Yeah, that happened.
One hundred percent of proceeds were donated to uncompensated care. Over $300,000 funds were raised. It was a great night to be a Seattleite.