Earthbound’s Earthfest (April 29) to celebrate Earth Month, benefit Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Earth Month, celebrated each April around the world, is a time to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our environment. Such efforts are especially important given the growing threat posed by climate change.

Earth Month typically climaxes on Earth Day, which began in the U.S. in 1970 and is celebrated on April 22. But Birmingham residents have another great opportunity to celebrate Earth Month before the end of April.

Birmingham rock and jam band Earthbound will headline Earthbound’s Earthfest, their annual outdoor concert at Avondale Brewery, this Saturday, April 29, from 2-8 p.m.

Earthfest is a benefit for Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a Birmingham-based nonprofit clean-water advocacy organization. The family-friendly concert is open to pets and people of all ages, although attendees under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, according to a news release from organizers. Suggested donations of $5 at the door will support Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

Earthbound will play several sets, and there will be food trucks and exhibits from local artists.

Black Warrior Riverkeeper seeks to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. The organization promotes clean water for improved public health, recreation and wildlife habitat throughout the watershed.

“The Black Warrior River watershed is the largest river basin entirely contained within Alabama, America’s leading state for freshwater biodiversity,” said Charles Scribner, the organization’s executive director.

Earthbound has been presenting Earthfest in various forms for many years, according to organizers. From 2005 to 2008, Earthbound presented Earthfest at George Ward Park, playing the concert on or near Earth Day and hosting a large volunteer litter cleanup, Scribner said. When Black Warrior Riverkeeper became Earthbound’s designated charity in 2009, the event moved to Bessie Estelle Park. In 2013, Earthfest moved to Avondale Brewing.

The event has become “a great annual tradition to highlight the importance of Earth Day and the Black Warrior River watershed,” Scribner said, calling Sam Ray, the band’s long-time manager, the “Godfather of Earthbound’s Earthfest.”

“We’ve raised a considerable amount of money,” Ray said. “We have a few large donors and some smaller donors, and we ask for $5 at the door and we have people who give more than that. It’s turned into something good. Everybody in the band looks forward to it every year.”

The members of the band, which was founded in about 1999 or 2000, “are all environmentally conscious to one degree or another,” Ray said. “Everybody just enjoys doing it,” he continued. “I look at the joy we have doing it and the joy we bring to people. It’s a passion. I’m very proud of it.”

“The event is great for all ages because the music appeals to a wide range of people and the venue is safe and fun for kids and pets,” Scribner said. “The brewery is a wonderful venue because the stage and large outdoor space are perfect for live music.”

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