Resourceful: DMB concert answers prayers

A concert in New York appears to be helping a struggling Charlottesville organization find a new home in an old church. The September 24 performance by Dave Matthews Band drew nearly 100,000 people to Central Park. According to band manager Coran Capshaw, the event should yield about $250,000 for Charlottesville's non-profit Music Resource Center in its effort to purchase the former Mt. Zion Baptist church, says band manager Coran Capshaw.

"The Music Resource Center has picked a great new home, and I'm happy to watch that come together," says Capshaw.

In September, the band and AOL announced that, besides aiding New York City schools, the free outdoor concert would boost the local Center. The band contributed its energy, AOL contributed $1 million, and attendees were asked to donate $25 to $75 ($250 to enjoy a barbecue under the VIP tent).

"I think it was just a great moment for everybody," Capshaw says. "The weather was perfect, and the band rose to the occasion and played really, really well."

The event came just a day after the release of Some Devil, Dave Matthews' first solo release, as well as a nationally televised appearance by the band on NBC's Today show.

According to a source in the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a multi-million-dollar reconfiguration of Central Park's Great Lawn after 9/11 meant the band had no chance of drawing crowds as large as the alleged half million claimed by supporters of, say, Garth Brooks. Meredith Israel, spokesperson for Matthews' label, RCA, says the concert attracted "around 90,000 people."

The fans included celebs. According to the New York Post, attendees included Sarah Ferguson, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, and Marcia Gay Harden– as well as several cast members of the hit HBO series The Sopranos. (Capshaw says he didn't notice. "I was busy with the show," he explains.)

The act of charity did not, however, go unpunished. "SCALPER TEACHER," screams the cover headline on the September 30 New York Daily News. A high school math teacher stands accused of selling nearly 20 tickets to his students for $30 a pop.

"Unfortunately, I missed all the coverage on the Today show because I was without power for a week," says John Redick. As the chief administrator for the Bama Works Fund, Redick will probably soon find himself managing the band's most recent largesse.

"I suspect the funds will come through here," says Redick. Created in 1999 and given a famous boost two years later with the historic Scott Stadium "Homecoming" concert, the Fund has quietly grown to over $3 million, he says.

Fritz Berry, president of the Music Resource Center's board, attended the concert. "You had 100,000 people– all highly enthusiastic, but all extraordinarily well-behaved," he says.

Berry says the Center– which provides musical assistance to urban youth– recently inked a contract to lease the 1884 Mt. Zion church building with an option to buy it from developer Gabe Silverman. Along with partner Allan H. Cadgene, Silverman bought the approximately 10,000-square-foot brick structure for $500,000 in July.

"This is a great start," says Berry, "but we'll be looking to the community to see this project to fruition."

Dave opens wide for about 90,000 fans in Central Park.


Fall-out from charity.