“Bernin’ Down the German House,” a 14-hour music festival,took place this past Saturday in Rochester’s South Wedge to support presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.
The event, organized by Rochesterians Seth Faergolzia and Mary Lupien, maintained solid attendance for all 14 hours of live, local music, and activities—from the moment the German House opened its door at noon, until the event ended at 2 a.m. Local musicians began playing at 12:30 p.m., breaking to talk about Sanders, resulting in loud cheers from the audience. Behind the 16 bands that played that day, a projector showed a montage of videos, pictures, and quotes of Sanders.
The Rochester event coincided with the Nevada Democratic Caucus and South Carolina Republican Primary, and was meant to be part concert, part political rally, with campaign materials and merchandise for sale to help spread the word about Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
All proceeds went to “promoting Bernie in upstate New York and perhaps beyond,” Faergolzia said. Each of the musicians donated their time and talents to the cause, and the event was fully run by Sanders-supporting volunteers.
When asked why he chose to attend the event, junior Sam Lerman said, “I wanted to rock out with like-minded people for a good cause.” He “definitely felt the Bern,” he said of his time at the event.
Volunteers printed over 100 Sanders T-shirts, and distributed merchandise to attendees. Airigami Balloon Creations built an enormous balloon piggy bank for the event, a humorous callout to Sanders’ promise to break up big banks and install checks on Wall Street. A “popping party” began at 5 p.m. to pop the piggy bank, with the added intrigue that some balloons had tickets for Sanders-themed merchandise inside.
“All these details cannot quite describe the shock wave we all sent through each other, coming together in friendship and mutual belief in an indescribable cause,” Faergolzia posted on Facebook after the event. “One that will have a definite effect on many generations to come. Humanity for humanity!”
Faergolzia and Lupien thought the event was such a success that they have already began planning a similar, collaborative event with a Syracuse team, called “Fuel the Bern.” The new event will be held on April 16 at Anthology, a concert hall on East Ave.
One-hundred people signed up to volunteer for phone banks. Attendees were even able to register to vote, and at least 30 people did.
Overall, the event raised $15,864, and, after expenses, the cause profited $13,284. The money will be donated to Sanders’ campaign, in line with his refusal to take money from super PACs, groups that can funnel unlimited sums of money to campaigns, and instead turn to his supporters.
A Monopoly-like top hat was passed around at the rally to collect donations, with a note saying, “pass the hat and pass on Wall Street, Bernie! Government must not be sold to corporate interests.”
His supporters in Rochester passed the hat, and also tipped their own hats to Sanders’ campaign.