A&O Benefit concert returns outdoors despite strong winds

May 8, 2016

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Not even a brisk wind could stop an annual concert benefiting Dance Marathon from taking place outdoors Saturday. Students huddled in groups on Norris University Center’s East Lawn, and performers donned heavy jackets — but the show went on.

Unlike last year, when rain forced the concert indoors, inclement weather was not an issue organizers had to worry about as more than 100 people came out, said A&O spokeswoman Caroline Kelly, a Communication junior.

The concert is a collaboration between A&O Productions and Dance Marathon to raise awareness about next year’s DM and kick-off fundraising for its yet-to-be-announced beneficiary.

“The purpose of it is to raise money for an organization that does good on campus while also providing great indie music for campus, so we see it as a two-part benefit,” Kelly said.

The event featured performances by Los Angeles-based rock band Gun Outfit, who opened for the show’s headliner, Canadian indie rock band TOPS.

The groups were selected because their “fun” music suits a daytime outdoor show, said A&O concerts chair Ben Shear, a Weinberg junior.

Admission was free, but DM volunteers dressed in their signature yellow bibs and gathered donations as they mingled with attendees. Games of cornhole were also arranged and added to the festive atmosphere, said DM spokeswoman Katharine Currault, a Medill junior.

“Everyone is enjoying the sun and chill music,” Currault said during the concert. “I don’t think there was a great turn out last year, so I’m happy with how many people are here.”

Last year’s concert, which featured the alt-pop band Vacationer and Chicago soul group The O’My’s, was held in Norris University Center’s Louis Room due to inclement weather.

Although Benefit is one of the smaller events A&O produces during the year, its philanthropic goal makes the time and effort worthwhile, Kelly said.

“A&O’s mission is to bring great entertainment to campus,” she said. “When we can do more than just bring music to campus, but also try and raise money for organizations, it endues what we do with even more meaning.”


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