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Planned Parenthood benefit concert to feature local bands

People can go and rock out to an evening of local bands and performers while also raising money for the Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio (PPGOH) at The Union Bar and Grill to kick off the weekend. 

The Rocking for Reproductive Rights benefit concert will be hosted by the Athens Community Leadership Council for PPGOH and The Union, 18 W. Union St. All proceeds raised will go to PPGOH to provide sexual health care services and sexual health education programs to Ohio women and men. Along with the local live music, raffle tickets for a basket of goodies donated by The Village Bakery and Cafe will also be sold.

Kristin Franks Slemmer, co-chair of Athens Community Leadership Council for PPGOH, is excited for the concert and hopes to turn it into an annual event if everything goes well.

“We are lucky enough to live in a community that is very supportive of Planned Parenthood and our health center, and that also has a vibrant music scene,” Slemmer said. “Over the years, a lot of our musician friends have volunteered their time performing at our fundraising events, so holding a benefit concert was a logical next step.”

Athens is home to the only Planned Parenthood health center in all of Southeast Ohio, so the proceeds from the concert will also help with costs associated with running the Athens health center. 

The services offered at the Athens health center include birth control, HIV testing and counseling, men’s health services, pregnancy testing and services, STI testing, treatment, vaccines and general reproductive health care.

Slemmer is also thankful for the local bands and performers who are donating their time and talent by playing for free so the Athens Community Leadership Council can give the full proceeds from each $10 cover charge to PPGOH.

“We are so thankful to have an amazing and diverse lineup of performers,” Slemmer said. “It should be a fun night filled with great music and dancing for a great cause.” 

Brother Hill will be one of several bands playing at the event. Brother Hill has wanted to play at The Union for some time now, and band member Brett Hill said booking the Rocking for Reproductive Rights gig was a great opportunity.

“We weren’t sure what the event was when we were first asked to do it, but I’m stoked about it, because we’re always glad to play for anything that’s going to serve the community,” Hill said. 

Hill describes Brother Hill’s sound as “neo-folk.” It’s a sound he’s never heard anywhere but Southeast Ohio, which is a reason the band enjoys being a part of benefits like Rocking for Reproductive Rights.

“Often times in the modern music industry, there’s an aspect of folk that’s forgotten that’s totally community driven, and that’s what it’s supposed to be about,” Hill said. “There’s so much good, community-oriented activity going on around Athens.”

The fundraiser for PPGOH is a cause Hill can personally get behind. Regardless of his views, Hill believes the treatment of and appreciation for women is of utmost importance.

Brother Hill is going to premiere its song “Red Rider,” which is about Little Red Riding Hood all grown up. The son of the wolf that ate Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother tries to kill her, but she kills the wolf and reclaims her right to run the town.

“It’s pretty cool and all about bada-- women, and I think this place is going to be filled with bada-- women to claim the right to do with their bodies as they wish,”  Hill said. “I’m fully down to play some good local Appalachian tunes for that.”

Kayla Hamilton, a junior studying communication, is planning on attending the Rocking for Reproductive Rights event to support a cause she believes is amazing.

“Planned Parenthood is an institution that I stand with very strongly and have for a really long time,” Hamilton said. “So being able to go hang out with friends, listen to live music and raise money for (Planned Parenthood) just sounds like a really great time.”


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