“Everybody is aware and thinking about what has happened in Oklahoma,” said Grant Widmer, lead singer and guitarist. “Tragedies like these are particularly resonant for us because of what happened to us when Hurricane Katrina hit. We got flooded out of our city for months. When we got an opportunity to contribute something to this benefit, to help out the people of Oklahoma, it meant a lot to us to be able to do that.”
Widmer, who lost his house in Katrina, said that after receiving help from others pitching in after his city drowned, he considers gigs like this his opportunity to “pay it forward.”
The indie-rock band headlines the Heal OK, a Norman Arts Council concert for tornado relief next Wednesday at Opolis in Norman. All proceeds will benefit American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma. Skating Polly and Colin Nance also are on the bill.
For Taylor Johnson, singer and guitarist of The Wurly Birds, it’s just one of many benefits his band has done for Moore as of late.
“It’s something that hits close to home,” Johnson said. “It’s something we’ve all been through and know how it affects people. It’s one of those things where you do all you can to help when you can. And we’re doing all we can.”
Johnson, who had family in the area of the tornado’s path, said many Oklahoma performers are coming out in full force to help raise money because they realize anyone can become the victim of a twister.
“That’s why it’s important to come out and support this cause, aside from the fact it’s good music and a good time,” he said. “Honestly, to do something so small, to go to a show to help people who were affected by it … it’s the least we can do.”
Widmer agreed, seeing the event as an opportunity for attendees not only to hear music, but enjoy the company of those around them.
“The show we put on is going to be a fun show,” Widmer said, “but at the same time, you can still feel good that the money you paid is going to benefit people who need it badly. It’s a twofold reason to come out, and hopefully that’ll make an even bigger incentive for people to be generous and contribute.”