WORDS: GEORGIA RAWSON
Whilst various genres of music over the decades have been laced within social and political change, in the current state of the world one genre which has forged a community like none other is hardcore. Whether it’s discussing these matters with tour managers in Germany, or on the streets of Los Angeles’ Skid Row with those impacted by the systematic racism of the world, the community of this global movement has been one that has both strived for, and been successful in bringing about change. Not many communities can not only boast of such a collective of people being seen as equals regardless of ability, age, gender, sexuality, race or background, but also bring together experience to impact the hardships of others.
“I grew up down the street from a punk house that did shows, and sort of literally stumbled into it.” Remembers For The Children founder Andrew ‘Doyle’. “It was about as DIY as it gets, which not only came to shape my personal beliefs about punk and hardcore, but also came to shape how I viewed things in the rest of my life.”
For The Children is a product of it’s environment. California has been a hotbed for political and social movements, and with it a strong line of freedom and activism embedded into it’s DIY and underground cultural communities it’s no wonder that the SOS Bookings promoters turned to look at their surroundings, and the people encompassed within it.
“IT not only came to shape my personal beliefs about punk and hardcore, but also came to shape how I viewed things in the rest of my life.”
“I think another element of it is that a lot of people in this scene came from less than ideal circumstances themselves.” Continues Doyle. When you grow up with that perspective, you generally live with it forever, and I think that’s a really good thing.”
Embracing the drive for community not just within hardcore, but within the communities pushed to the fringes of American society, of which in recent years has seen a rise in xenophobia towards central and southern American countries, Xilbalba vocalist and secondary booker Nate Rebolledo explains how his roots as a promoter widened his perspective. “Booking shows has forced me to learn about the music industry top to bottom.” He muses. “At this point it has turned into my career and I have hardcore to thank for that. I realized we can utilize our resources and curate things beyond just shows, specifically ideas in how to impact our local community.”
Being in a successful band, as well as a successful promoter may often lead to a stinge of egotism, but for the Xibalba vocalist, checking privilege and how to use his position to help others is still at the very heart of his work. ““I have lost money to make For The Children happen but that’s ok.” Comments Rebolledo. “I’m fortunate to be able to do that. Kids have no choice or option other than what is presented to them. Just like someone helped my family when I was a kid, it’s my duty to pay it forward. For The Children is our Christmas.”
“I think even though we’re separated, and through all the bullshit of 2020 and the loved ones we’ve lost, I’ve seen some incredibly inspiring moments shared between members of this community.”
Whilst the entire global economy is being turned on it’s side during the Covid-19 pandemic, poorer communities who have relied heavily in the past on financial support will have been hit the hardest, and whilst lockdown looks to present new social challenges for this year’s Christmas festivities, for the communities of California this presents new challenges, of which For The Children have faced head on. Bringing in renowned tour manager Tanner Herman, and close friend Davey from American hardcore band Vamachara, who ‘put in an ungodly level of hours’, the new challenges presented by the virus has allowed For The Children to still look forward to giving back this Christmas.
“The immediate reaction was, fuck, what do we do now? Nate got to work on the stream end, and my business partner Bailey and I started shaping up this merch project via MerchHub.” Explains Doyle. “It’s not an easy task, to raise nearly $50,000 to spend on the goods that are normally donated at the shows. I think even though we’re separated, and through all the bullshit of 2020 and the loved ones we’ve lost, I’ve seen some incredibly inspiring moments shared between members of this community.”
“BEING ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT SHRED OF RELIEF TO FAMILIES AND ALLOW THEM TO RETURN TO FOCUSE MAKES EVERY DIFFICULT MOMENT OF THE PROCOESS WORTH IT.”
With live streams featuring the likes of Converge, Knocked Loose, and merch donations from the likes of Fit For An Autopsy and Emmure, the movement that is For The Children has been an inspiring one in the face of one of the most challenging and adverse years we’ve ever faced as a global community.
““I mentioned this before, but when you work with these families and you see the joy and love and relief that even these little gestures bring, that stays with you. It drives you to want to be able to do more and more for these kids, more for the parents out here trying their best.” Concludes Doyle. “The holidays are about love, family, and friends. Being able to provide that shred of relief to families and allow them to return to focusing on those important elements makes every difficult moment of the process worth it and more.”
All profits from this month’s issue will be donated to both For The Children and BANE bassist, Brendan “Stu” Maguire’s cancer trust.