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Taken from The Chronicle Online (September 19, 2005)
Franti and Spearhead hit quad for hurricane relief
by Scott Lee

Michael Franti
Despite some raindrops Friday afternoon, Michael Franti and Spearhead rocked the Main West Quadrangle in a concert benefit for Hurricane Katrina relief. About 400 students came to enjoy the funky reggae concert.

Franti, who filmed a documentary that protests the war in Iraq, appeared this time in support of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. As soon as the concert started, Franti and Spearhead captivated the crowd, which was dancing, jumping and singing along.

?I think the concert turned out really well,? said senior Elisa Ayarza, chair of the Duke University Union?s Major Attractions Committee, which sponsored the event. ?A good amount of people seemed to be really enjoying themselves. I love benefit concerts.?

The Union turned an ordinary show into a benefit concert after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans Aug. 29. With help from Duke?s Community Service Center and the administration, the Union was able to reorganize the concert on short notice.

Among the helping hands were Duke University Dining Services, which provided free Domino?s pizza and Pauly Dogs to students. New local store Loco Pops also offered barbecue and popsicles.

Many student groups lined the quad, tabling to help raise Katrina relief funds. The Graduate and Professional Student Council sold Katrina plastic cups that were donated by Duke University Stores. The Red Cross sold senior Steven Lin?s CD, Passions, and Mardi Gras beads. The Freeman Center for Jewish Life gave out information about the various ways to help the Katrina victims.

?I think the student groups provide an excellent venue to raise much needed aid,? Ayarza said. ?The funds raised in this concert will be donated to the Red Cross.?

One of the groups tabling was the Coalition for Relief and Justice, which distributed information about the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. ?The hurricane was an act of nature; the devastation in its wake was not. The death and destruction we are seeing is a human creation,? the flyers read.

There were no security issues at the concert. Duke University Police Department officer John Helsius said he was happy about the ?very nice crowd.? The audience behaved very well and did not cause any security problems, he added.

A light rain in the afternoon and many social events hurt attendance at the concert, however. ?I thought the concert would be canceled because of the rain,? freshman Todd Shimp said. Perry Nelson, another freshman, said others went to fraternity parties or to the movies instead.

Many who went to the concert said they loved Franti and Spearhead?s altruistic show.


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