Story by Emma Wilson
April 17 from 6-9 p.m. on Helmick Commons, Drake University’s Environmental Action League is hosting Earth Jam, an annual event featuring local bands and sustainably grown, local food.
“Who doesn’t like a free concert, free food and free stuff?” Drake’s Environmental Action League President Kelsey Johnson said.
Earth Jam has been held on campus for six years and is one of Drake Environmental Action League’s major events during the year. It also hosts Earth Week every fall, which featured a farmers market and a rock wall this year.
Drake Environmental Action League frequently partners with other organizations to provide them with guidance on how to plan environmentally friendly events. It also has a representative that serves on Sodexo’s Sustainability Committee to encourage more environmentally friendly foods at Drake.
“Lots of environmental initiatives go for the local feel, usually that comes in with things like food but it applies to music too,” Johnson said. “All the musicians we get are great and super excited about playing.”
Earth Jam will feature four local artists, those being Christopher the Conquered, Gloom Balloon, Madison Ray and All the Single Ladies, and Anja McCloskey.
Christopher the Conquered is led by Iowa songwriter Chris Ford and backed up by the Black Gold Brass Band.
“I’m excited to play at a new place. Chris usually describes the band as progressive soul. Chris has taken influences from real early jazz and rock and roll through the decades,” Brian “Wildman” Stout, a trombone player in the band said. “I usually describe him (as a) piano-fronted, easy rock and roll with horns.”
Gloom Balloon is a solo project of Poison Control Center’s Patrick Tape Fleming and is self-proclaimed music for a “Baroque Heart.”
Madison Ray and All the Single Ladies is a stanque pop band led by vocalist Madison Ray balancing influences from California and Tokyo, Japan.
Finally, Anja McCloskey is a singer and accordionist from Southampton, England touring in the U.S.
“Two years ago we had Poison Control Center at Earth Jam and they brought out a few hundred people, lots of community members,” Laura Jones, a Drake Environmental Action League member, said, “This year we’re expecting around 100, but it’s hard to say,”
The rain location for the event is on Pomerantz Stage, but Johnson hopes that they will not have to change locations so that people can hear the music all over campus and will come see what’s going on.
Besides music, the event will feature local, sustainably grown food, reusable mugs, tote bags, and Drake Environmental Action League temporary tattoos.
Stout encourages Drake students to attend the show.
“Supporting your community through local music, locally grown food and shopping at local businesses can make significant change in the world and is super rad,” Stout said.