Cape Musicians Hold Benefit For Bahama Hurricane Relief

By: Tim Wood

Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys, along with other Cape Cod musicians, will play at the Bands for the Bahamas Hurricane Dorian Relief Concert on Sept. 27. COURTESY PHOTO


Ten local bands will pitch in to raise money for Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas in a benefit concert slated for Friday, Sept. 27 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis.

Bands for the Bahamas is being organized by Josh Stewart, who teaches at the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School and in Nassau; Steve and Sarah Swain—whose band Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys will play at the benefit—and Noelle Pina, executive director of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce and a native of the Bahamas.

“This storm for Bahamians is the single most devastating event that's ever happened in my lifetime and many people's lifetimes,” said Pina, who is from Nassau. The Caribbean country's capital was spared the brunt of the Category 5 hurricane, unlike Abaco and the Grand Bahamas, where the damage was catastrophic.

Thousands of people, some 20 percent of the island's population, where left without a home or a source of food and water. She compares the impact to the entire town of Barnstable being leveled.

“It's very heartbreaking,” she said.

Funds from the benefit will go to the One Eleuthera Foundation, based on the island of Eleuthera, which will give the money directly to the HeadKnowles Foundation, which Pina said is providing direct relief to the people on the islands, including helping evacuate people in small planes and boats. Those who manage to make it to Nassau or elsewhere have just the clothes on their backs, she said. Founded by Lia Head and Gina Knowles after Hurricane Joaquin in 2015, the organization arranges food, clothing and connects evacuees with family on other islands.

“These two women are well respected in this community,” Pina said.

The Swains spent six months sailing from Cape Cod to the Bahamas in 2017-18. After the hurricane, Sarah began getting inquiries from other musicians about how to help. Pina had posted a link to the HeadKnowles Foundation and Sarah reached out to her. “The next thing you know we had a benefit,” Pina said.

“If it wasn't for the musicians donating their talents this wouldn't be happening,” she said. “I really appreciate all of them probably more than they know.”

Helping to organize the event is something Pina said should could do even though she is far from home.

“It gave me a way to help my country at a time when they really need it,” she said.

The hurricane was a huge blow to the island's economy and it will take years to recover. “It just doesn't end a week after the storm,” Pina said, adding that this is also an opportunity to educate people about the Bahamas and encourage them to travel there. The concert will be a way for local residents to help now.

“We hope people from all over Cape Cod will come to help rebuild these devastated islands,” she said.

In addition to Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys, the benefit concert will feature The Rip It Ups, the Catie Flynn Band, Bert Jackson Wicked Trio, Zoe Lewis, The Ticks, Earth Junior, Sarah Burrill, Anna and the Moderns, and Mozelle.

Cape Cod Beer, located on Phinney's Lane in Hyannis will provide drinks while the Pineapple Caper food truck will have food. A raffle to benefit One Eleuthera will feature a six-foot-long steel great white shark sculpted by artist Steve Swain of the Frying Pan Gallery in Wellfleet.

Tickets for the Bands for the Bahamas Hurricane Dorian Relief Concert are $20 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under, and will be available at the door and at Facebook under “Bands for the Bahamas.”


Bands for the Bahamas Hurricane Dorian Relief Concert

Sept. 27, 6 to 10 p.m.

Cape Cod Beer, Phinney's Lane, Hyannis

Tickets: $20 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under; available at the door or at “Bands for the Bahamas” on Facebook.