H.O.R.D.E. Show Proceeds Going To Florida Fire Relief

Tour organizers agree to donate some funds from Aug. 19 date to assist in state-wide emergency.

In an effort to assist in the recovery from recent fires that have ravaged sections of Florida, the H.O.R.D.E. festival -- founded by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper -- is planning to donate proceeds from an Aug. 19 tour date in Live Oak, Fla., to a fund set up to aid fire victims.

Festival organizer Dave Frey said the decision to give a portion of the show's proceeds to the Florida Fire Emergency Relief Fund, which has been established to aid victims of the fires that have swept across the state this summer, was made after several scheduled H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) dates at Suwanee Park, in Live Oak, Fla., were scratched due to fires in the area.

"After talking with the promoter about putting the show on, he'd say, 'On a normal day, you might not want to do this. There's these fires going on,' " Frey recalled, adding that he had been trying to plan a show there for weeks. "We had same conversation month after month, and then suddenly, the fires were on CNN. We thought, 'This is ridiculous. We should forget about coming here or do something meaningful here.' "

Founded in 1992 by Popper, the annual summer H.O.R.D.E. festival has catered to jam- and groove-oriented rock fans who like a melange of roots-rock, folk, psychedelia and jazz or blues improvisation, including the blues-boogie sounds of Popper's band, Blues Traveler. Other bands on the '98 tour include swing-rockers Cherry Poppin' Daddies, roots-rocker Ben Harper and pop-rockers Fastball.

"On behalf of the people of Florida, I want to thank the members of these bands for reaching out and providing a helping hand to these families," said Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles in a statement released Thursday. "These much-needed dollars will help rebuild communities affected by the fires."

The latest spate of fires torching the southern-most state in the union has affected a generous swath of land, including portions of Flagler, Volusia and Brevard Counties, causing millions of dollars in damage and leading to a state of emergency.

A toll-free number (888-963-2484) has been established to enable people to donate to the cause. And a pair of Live Oak area radio stations are holding canned-food and bottled-water drives, with donors receiving a pair of tickets to the benefit concert in exchange for donated goods.

This type of aid effort is not without precedent, Frey said, citing a previously successful attempt to aid flood victims in 1993, when the Mississippi River swelled over its banks.

"We've done this before in 1993 in St. Louis, when the floods happened there. We raised three-and-a-half semis full of food and bottled water," he said. "We just took the same idea and applied it to this."

While Popper's band is currently touring with H.O.R.D.E., it also recently played at the 1998 Tibetan Freedom Concert to raise awareness about Chinese oppression of Tibet. Blues Traveler recently scored on the charts with 1997's Straight On Till Morning LP and songs such as "Canadian Rose" (RealAudio excerpt).

Additional donations for the Florida Fire Emergency Relief Fund can be sent to Florida Fire Emergency Fund, c/o Ticketmaster, P.O. Box 471, Orlando, FL 32802.