WASHINGTON – It’s a legal matter, baby – one that involves 16 bands, two stages, a popular music venue and a great local charity.
Walter Lohmann of D.C. law firm Kirkland & Ellis is expecting a big turnout for this year’s Banding Together benefit concert, which will feature groups representing area law firms holding court on stage.
All proceeds from the concert – scheduled for June 21 at the Black Cat – go to Gifts For the Homeless, a nonprofit corporation that uses donation money to purchase essential clothing for the homeless in the D.C. area.
Lohmann borrowed the idea from a National Press Club event which featured bands consisting of journalists. His thought that “there must be a lot of frustrated rock stars like me, sitting behind desks at law firms” turned out to be correct. The first Banding Together event was held in 2004 and each year, more bands have signed on to perform.
Since its inception, all aspects of the event have steadily grown: Bigger venues, more bands, more sponsorships and higher donation amounts.
“In year one, we had no sponsors and we made $10,000, purely on door sales,” Lohmann says. “Last year, we made $150,000.”
To date, Banding Together concerts have raised more than $600,000.
The increase in fundraising is due to the combination of business sponsorships and a “battle of the bands” format. At the event, there will be donation tables at each stage. Fans can stuff cash, check and credit card donations into jars, each one representing a participating band.
At the end of the night, a trophy will be awarded to the band with the highest donation amount.
Bands playing at the event will showcase various styles, including jazz, blues and even punk. But the dominant genre will be “classic rock songs that people in the crowd know, and can sing along to,” Lohmann says.