Blog: Sunrise Fest - An All Day Benefit For Japan’s 3.11 Disaster
On March 11th 2011, the face of Japan changed forever. One of the most intense earthquakes on record ravaged the powerful nation, causing a tsunami putting the potential for a severe nuclear accident at grave risk. The death toll and the sheer amount of damage was staggering. But as with life, we must move forward, rebuild, and learn from these horrors. The relief effort, especially from the United States has been remarkable. Yet there is still much work to do. This past weekend, Williamsburg concert venue and event space, Public Assembly was the home to Sunrise Fest: An All Day Benefit of Japan’s 3.11 Disaster Relief. It was a day when spirits were raised as well as cash.
Our group arrived just after 3pm for this all day event. A cover was collected at the door, with the proceeds diverted toward three different worthy organizations. “Toyo Gakuen” and “Smile” are a school and an organization respectively, for Autism. The third had money going to the divers in Miyato Island who have had some of the most harrowing work because of the disastrous tsunami. Delegating relief funds to two of the major cross sections of the country who need it most is inspiring and effective. About an hour into the festivities the place was packed. Kids sat on their parents’ shoulders watching a magician and doing crafts. Parents without children enjoyed disconnected Asahi, a popular beer of Japan.
The full day event featured nary a dull moment. Along with a rotating stage of performers and bands, Sunrise boasted a flea-market style shopping area. But instead of selling just anything many of the products focused on supporting those effected by the disaster. One of the more popular charitable items for sale was the “Whistle of Hope Project.” Eventgoers could purchase this whistle which is designed to let someone locate you for recuse at the time of an earthquake. It is also effective for any emergency use. 60% of the item’s total sales will go to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
T-shirts and wristbands were also available to the public, with proceeds going directly to the people of Japan, which several people were sporting throughout the day. In addition to these materials for purchase, personalized calligraphy was available with the artist onsite. Many vendors also sold Japanese style candy and pastries, which were a favorite among the young, and young at heart.
As the hours rolled on, it felt like the party was never going to end. As Public Assembly became more and more packed, our group collectively took note of the amount of money rolling in to help those in need after a truly terrifying event. Some say New Yorkers are cold, and self-involved. In reality this is simply not the case. We have been through our own tragedy, so helping others is always at the forefront of our minds. It has to be.
- Jay Rubin