Rockin for Research in Burlington

by Rebecca Harrelson

Courtesy Photo – Ryan Downing of Jonas Sees in Color

I had the opportunity to head to Burlington this weekend to experience one of the best music scenes North Carolina has to offer. Max Dearing who runs Dark Pine Studios, Inc and Wee Bee Record in Burlington put on his 3rd annual Rocking for Research music festival and craft fair. Rocking for Research is a fundraiser for diabetes research for the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation through the Grand Court of North Carolina. All of the funds raised this past weekend went directly towards diabetes research. They had over 30 bands playing at different venues around town, many within walking distance of each other. While this is a good way to raise a substantial amount of money for a worthy cause, I couldn’t help but think about the location and the number of people from Greensboro who could have driven only 20 minutes down the road for such phenomenal music. Local Burlington musician William Sanders spoke with great hope about the gap between Greensboro and Burlington. “I have driven every mile of I-40 from Barstow, California to Wilmington, lived in Los Angeles, and I still have never witnessed as much talent in one town as I have seen in Burlington. It’s crazy. I’m not just saying this because I’m from here, I truly mean it. The only thing Burlington lacks is a large group of people that want to support live music, but not play it. This town is full of musicians, so we can never go to any of our friend’s shows. That’s why Greensboro is so attractive, it’s a town full of people who have barely ever heard of Burlington, much less our music scene.” I was also able to speak with one of the headlining bands, Jonas Sees in Color, whose members are all Greensboro residents. I spoke to lead singer Ryan Downing, who put on one hell of a performance at the Paramount Theater. Having musicians speak about the Greensboro music scene, and being able to bridge the gap between towns around Greensboro, is one way we are going to be able to build our own community up. “We’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the Greensboro music scene for almost 10 years, and Greensboro is still one of my favorite places to play,” Downing said. “I think the Greensboro scene is starting to blossom again … I see as lot more bands starting up right now, and I see more musicians and artists ready and willing to take risks, to try things that won’t be cool or trendy, and just to try to find a unique sound to call their own. Greensboro is full of talent; this town is bursting at the seams with amazing people who are dedicated to developing their art and their message.”When asked why they would play a show with a possibly small turn out, and little to no media coverage, Ryan and the guys didn’t seem to mind, they just wanted to play music for a great cause. “We’re playing two benefit shows this week- one for diabetes research in Burlington on Friday and then one to benefit Autism Speaks here in Greensboro on Saturday,” Downing said. “We try to do as many of these things as we can, because I think we owe it to our community. This community is always here for us when we need them; they keep our heads in the clouds and our feet on the ground, so if we can use our music to give back to this community, we’re gonna do it. They deserve it. ” The ballpark figure Max Dearing was able to raise this year is about $5,000 dollars, with more money coming in from T-shirts and donations.

Courtesy photo – Mason Keck of Jive Mother-Mary and Keith Ingalls of The Ends.