Ocean Beach holiday show benefits annual Food and Toy Drive
by BART MENDOZA
Published - 11/25/16 - 03:41 PM | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Head (center) with the group Country Rockin Rebels.		PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
Michael Head (center) with the group Country Rockin Rebels. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
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One of Ocean Beach’s most beloved annual events, the OB Food and Toy Drive Concert on the Farmers Market, returns on Dec. 7 to the intersection of Bacon Street and Newport Avenue. Helmed by guitarist Michael Head, best known for his work with The Country Rockin’ Rebels, the free event runs from 4 to 7 p.m.

“We collect non-perishable food, new toys, clothing and cash to benefit OB families in need,” said Head. “There are many collection points across OB, but this is the only one with free music scheduled.”

On hand that day will be Ethan Wade of the Brothers Gow, guitarist Israel Maldonado, singer songwriters Sheri Stolozfus and Dave Gilbert. The event has been a tradition for more than a decade.

“For as long I and my predecessor have been doing it, so at least 10 years. It's a simple extension of the community-wide food and toy drive that has gone on as long as I can remember, and I've been in OB for 20-plus years,” Head stated. He points out that while the day’s music will focus on seasonal tunes, “let's just say the definition of 'holiday music' is very wide,” he laughed.

The event can make all the difference to some families in need. “We generate a fair amount every year. I do know that it is very special to see the look on the family’s eyes when these things are delivered. I did it my first year and it will bring a tear to your eye. Certainly makes you feel lucky for what you have,” he said.

Scheduling entertainment at the weekly farmer’s market can be a time-consuming effort for Head. “Timing is one of the toughest things with the weekly,” he stated. “I essentially need to be last guy in and first guy out to best suit the vendors. This leaves a tight time-frame for setup and sound checks. Given the location of the market music, which is the killer spot, I'm kind of the lynch pin for the traffic flow,” Head said.

He notes that Ocean Beach residents are generous. “OB always gives what it can to a good cause,” Head remarked. “The donation levels rise every year. They also know every little bit helps so may only give a little. One year a lady walked straight to the office and wrote a four-figure check. Miracles do happen.”

Whereever you may be from, Head feels it’s important to give at this time of year. “Giving makes us whole. You don't even realize it's something you need to do, until you do it. Then you see the power of positivity and people working together. You're not an entire person until you give what you can.”

It’s been noted before that musicians are usually amongst the first to contribute. “I know for me I feel like it's something I can give. And music is very powerful. It's like the waves in the ocean, or solar power: you might as well use that power, do something with that power anyway. I'm going to make music either way – but this makes it so worthwhile.”

For his part, Head simply enjoys seeing the people of all ages coming out each week and having a good time. “Especially the parents with little kids,” he said. “They really love to share the music with their kids, and this might be one of the first times these little folks see live music up close. I hope it makes an impression on them. I think it does, and I know it did to all of us music lovers somewhere along the way.”

While a donation is encouraged on the day, Head points out that its not required. “Come out, bring the family and enjoy,” he said good naturedly. “Everyone gives in different ways, so that is important, but not the only thing. Part of it is bringing people together, and empowering others through the belief that we can make a difference, every day, but certainly this time of year. Maybe someone will be inspired to go on and do something, and so on and so on,” he mused.

OB FOOD AND TOY DRIVE CONCERT

WHERE: Ocean Beach Farmers Market, Newport and Bacon avenues.

WHEN: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7.

INFO: www.oceanbeachsandiego.com/events/farmers-market-wednesdays

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