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Beyond the Bars: The Districts, Queen of Jeans and more rip it up for a good cause

The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.

By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beyond The Bars Fundraiser ft The Districts at World Cafe Live, No Brainer Benefit ft Avi Wisnia at Dave and Buster’s

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Tonight, a terrific lineup of Philly artists bands together to support Beyond The Bars at World Cafe Live. The organization, which provides musical instruments and lessons to incarcerated youth in Philadelphia, has been around since early 2015, and has found supporters in The Districts, Frances Quinlan from Hop Along, Queen of Jeans, The Bul Bey, Ben Arnold, and Milton. Raj Haldar of Lushlife will be DJing inbetween sets. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Beyond the Bars benefit adds Queen of Jeans, The Bul Bey

Queen of Jeans
Queen of Jeans | photo by Kelly Kurteson | courtesy of the artist

Next month’s Beyond the Bars benefit concert was already going to be phenomenal, with The Districts, Frances Quinlan, Ben Arnold, Milton and Lushlife set to perform in support of a program that gives music education opportunities to the city’s incarcerated youth. Now we have two more reasons to grab some tickets and head to World Cafe Live on April 17th: local “denimcore” trio Queen of Jeans and West Philly rapper The Bul Bey have been added to the bill. Check them out below and learn more about the fundraiser here. Tickets for the all-ages event (which begins at 5:00 p.m.) can be found here.

Continue reading →

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The Districts, Frances Quinlan, and more to play Beyond The Bars benefit at World Cafe Live

 

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Well this is happening: The Districts, Frances Quinlan, Ben Arnold, and Milton will be performing at World Cafe Live on Sunday, April 17th at World Cafe Live to support Beyond The Bars. In addition, Lushlife‘s Raj Haldar will be DJing in between sets.

Beyond The Bars is a program that benefits music education for incarcerated youth in Philadelphia. Their programs consist of providing instruments and music lessons to “empower young men and women as they navigate the criminal justice system.” Beyond The Bars was founded by Matthew Kerr, Eric Ammon, Brian Thomas, and Christopher Thornton. The organization has been gaining momentum and was recently featured on WHYY. Continue reading →

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Building Up From Rock Bottom: Philly’s Matt Kerr on making music with incarcerated youth

Matt Kerr of Beyond the Bars at Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Matt Kerr of Beyond the Bars at Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Restorative. Not punitive. That’s what musician and teacher Matt Kerr believes all prisons should be.

Kerr, a teacher in the Philadelphia school district and former guitarist in the local band Family Vacation, decided this year to start a music after-school program at the school he was teaching at, which led to a thought-provoking conversation with the mother of one of his students. Continue reading →