Like many of our friends in the Bay Area, we were shocked and horrified to hear news of the fire that has so far claimed dozens of lives with still many missing. Nearly all of the missing or dead are friends-of-friends of ours, and given that the Oakland warehouse electronic music party scene is how we choose to spend many of our weekends, it truly could have been any one of us. Because of this, and because it is the right thing to do, we are donating proceeds from all of our December events to Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, which is raising money to disburse to the medical care of the survivors, and funeral costs for the families of those who lost their lives. Read on for more details.
What We Are Doing to Help
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has set up this fundraising page
to collect money for the funeral expenses of the families impacted by the fire, and medical costs for the survivors. We will be donating 10% of per-event net to this fundraiser, which works out to approximately $1 per sword. Our operating expenses this year are steep: storage, rising permit prices, event insurance, transportation, and our legal battle with Lucasfilm have us somewhat in the red today, but we believe we should be able to raise $5,000 - $10,000 for this fundraiser at least, in addition to our personal contribution. Whether you are attending the event or not, we strongly encourage you to donate to the cause.
These Parties Made Us Who We Are
Newmindspace is, at its core, a story about how a certain music and certain culture manifested itself in giant events like International Pillow Fight Day and the Glow Battle Tour. In 2003, a law called The RAVE Act was passed, essentially making raves illegal in the United States. This criminalized an already-marginalized community, and made it extremely difficult to hold a legal dance music party. Because of this, we have found ourselves throwing parties in warehouses and industrial lofts, and even abandoned buildings and under bridges over the years. We have met some of the most important people in our live at raves, and the events we do as Newmindspace are, at their core, an expression of the ideological underpinnings and subconscious of rave culture called the Temporary Autonomous Zone.
In addition to the Bay Area housing crisis, the fact that our years in Oakland and San Francisco have brought us to many of these spaces on the edges, and many of the people impacted by this terrible tragedy are our close personal friends. This hits very close to home for us.
Our History of Charitable Giving
Newmindspace has been about charity since our early years, when we partnered with World Wildlife Fund to promote their climate change initiatives in 2007. Since then, WWF-Canada has been the beneficiary of many Newmindspace events, from parties to corporate productions like The Big Kiss. Last year, we started working with a New York City charity that provides relief and basics to families living in transitional homeless shelters, from toothbrushes and toothpaste to soap and pillows. This year we were able to expand the partnership and raise money in addition to supplies for their work. The Spring Cats in Space tour was able to raise money for 5 local Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters, which brings us great joy. We are happy to continue being "a fan-run, charitable event."