FAST TO ACT: Local musicians band together to raise monies for hurricane relief

Wilmington’s musicians and artists are always quick to act when it comes to supporting their community in times of crisis or general need. Whether raising monies for a nonprofit or for another band going through a harship, or more recently fundraising for hurricane recovery, Signal Fire’s Cullen Seward says community creatives are always fast to mobilize.

CA HELPFUL SIGNAL: Reggae act Signal Fire will take over WBB stage, along with other local bands, for a hurricane relief fundraiser. Photo by Chris Frick Photography
CA HELPFUL SIGNAL: Reggae act Signal Fire will take over WBB stage, along with other local bands, for a hurricane relief fundraiser. Photo by Chris Frick Photography

“After all, we (artists) only thrive because Wilmington supports us,” he says. “There is a responsibility to put that energy and support back into the community.”

It took less than 24 hours for Seward and company to throw together Saturday’s Wilmington Strong: Hurricane Florence Relief Benefit at Wrightsville Beach Brewery. All proceeds, including $1 from each beer sold, will benefit charities centered on Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

Signal Fire has seen the same type of generosity first hand. They were one of 11 bands who donated their time and talent to the charity album “One Perfect Summer,” released last month. Recorded at Hourglass Studios with Trent Harrison and George Hartner of The Mighty Olas, the album’s proceeds went toward Surfer’s Healing, a surf camp for children on the autism spectrum. (The local chapter founder, John Pike, lost his home to Hurricane Florence; folks can help his family by donating to While Signal Fire band was making its way from Vermont to Wilmington post-touring with Jesse Royal last year, their van died on 95. A trailer full of equipment made it particularly difficult to get home because most companies don’t rent with hitches.

“We started a GoFundMe and within a day the community had donated enough money to help get us home and even put a little toward our next vehicle,” Seward recalls.

Seward and his bandmates rode out Florence in very different fashions. Some stayed in Wilmington while others retreated for higher ground. “Everyone is relatively OK with damage to homes and personal possessions,” he shares, “but we are all safe and in high spirits and ready to help.”

Signal Fire had two singles released over the summer and available for streaming on Spotify, Google Play; they will play both this weekend. “Forever” was contributed to “One Perfect Summer,” while “Conquering Lion” features Kenyatta Hill of well-known reggae band Culture. “It carries the motif of ‘Love is the Greatest Power,’” Seward tells.

Rodriguez, drummer of another local reggae act, Elephant Convoy, also is slated to play on Saturday. “We wouldn’t be where we are without the support so we love to give back every time,” Rodriguez tells.

During the hurricane, Rodriguez and his crew were spread out throughout North Carolina, from Raleigh to Charlotte. One member stayed in Wilmington. Everyone came out of the storm safe.

They, too, have a song featured on “One Perfect Summer.” But the track “Take Me Home,” off their latest album released in March, is especially apt nowadays. It reminds listeners “home” is a mental state and not really a place.

“I feel [it] is important during this time,” Rodriguez observes, “because, although our home may have been subject to a devastating hurricane, if we all put our minds together, we can still recreate this ‘home’ we sing of. . . .Wilmington is a one-of-a-kind city. There is an authentic care for our beaches, local businesses, and music and arts. Everyone in Wilmington wears multiple hats. For example, I know UNCW professors who are surfers, and musicians who own restaurants or businesses. So when everything is put at stake with something like a hurricane, there is a natural instinct to protect anything and everything Wilmington has to offer.”

Saturday’s stage also will feature Michael Eakins Band and Travis Shallow & The Deep End. Seward wanted to have an eclectic lineup from reggae and rock, to roots and Americana, to showcase the varied bands who are constantly onstage across our Port City.

“We were keen on having artists who play uplifting music and are uplifting members of our community,” Seward adds. “There will be an after party at the Palm Room on Wrightsville Beach with Medjool Datez, Massive Grass and more!”

Wilmington Strong will collect suggested donations of $10 to benefit The Good Shepherd Center and to help local farmers—such as Humble Roots Farm, which lost many of its animals and barns, crops and the like, due to Flo.

“The Good Shepherd Center feeds the hungry, houses the homeless, and fosters transition into long-term housing,” Seward adds. “Since the hurricane, they have had an influx across the board and need all the resources they can get to continue to help our community.”

Folks are encouraged to Uber to the event, as Wrightsville Beach Brewery’s parking lot is expected to fill up early. Anyone who wishes to contribute non-monetary donations directly to Good Shepherd Center may visit their 811 Martin St. location throughout the week, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. As well, Humble Roots has a GoFundMe ( for anyone who cannot attend the show Saturday.

Other details and updates can be found on Wilmington Strong’s Facebook event page.

Wilmington Strong:
Hurricane Florence Relief Benefit
w/ Signal Fire, Elephant Convoy, Travis Shallow & The Deep End, Michael Eakins Band
Sat., September 29, 3 p.m.
Wrightsville Beach Brewery
6201 Oleander Dr.
$10 suggested donation (includes raffle ticket)

Wilmington Strong After Party
with Medjool Datez, Massive Grass and more
Sat., September 29, 11 p.m.
The Palm Room
11 E. Salisbury St., Wrightsville Beach
Donations welcome


Hurricane Relief Benefit
Thurs., September 27, 5 p.m.
The Joyce
1174 Turlington Ave., Leland
The Joyce is partnering with Brunswick Family Assistance in Leland, Carolina Seabreeze and the North Brunswick Merchants Association for holding a pay-what-you-can pasta dinner and music night. Anyone can get a hot meal, and no one will be turned away. All monies raised will go directly to Brunswick Family Assistance, who also will accept supplies for people who need them. It is an outside shindig, so don’t forget the lawn chairs!

Folks interested in volunteering can contact Lara Bair at

WARM Hurricane Florence Fundraiser – Bluegrass & Cookout
Thurs. Sept. 27, 5 p.m.
Waterline Brewing Company
721 Surry St.
Bluegrass players Sugar & Mint is swinging by Waterline Brewery this Thursday for a good ol’ fashioned burger and hot dog grill out, with $3 select pints and 100 percent of all donations going to WARM (Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry). WARM serves low-income homeowners in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. They also focus on long-term disaster preparedness and recovery in times like these!

An Evening With Heist Brewery
Hurricane Relief Needs Collection & Fundraiser
Sat., September 29, 5 p.m.
7250-B Market St.
Donations welcome
Flo has not dampened the spirits at Fermental as they welcome the crew from Heist Brewery of Charlotte. They’ll have  multiple drafts, cans, tastings, live music from Category Four, Bill’s Front Porch Food Truck, and donations accepted for hurricane relief. A local team from Port City Volunteer and Disaster Relief Organization will distributed needed items to communities affected by recent storm and flood damage. Items needed include non-perishable foods, baby items, pet items, clothing (all sizes), bedding, bottled water, toiletries, cleaning supplies, work gloves, boots, tools, etc. Call 910-821-0362 for details.

Nourish N.C. Florence Benefit
Sun., September 30, 2 p.m.
The Dubliner Irish Pub
1756 Carolina Beach Rd.
Donations welcome
Nourish NC helps feed thousands of children in our area and need to be restocked after Hurricane Florence. Help supply them with non-perishable foods (peanut butter, jelly, pasta, pasta sauce, cereal, granola bars, canned fruit and veggies) Sunday at The Dubliner. Music will be played by the Signal Fire Duo, 2 – 3 p.m.; Travis Shallow & Bob Russell, 3 – 4 p.m.; and The Blarney Brogues, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Hurricane Florence Relief Party
Sun., September 30, 12 p.m.
Waterman’s Brewing
1610 Pavilion Place
Donations welcome
Join On Q Financial and Waterman’s Brewing as they throw down for Flo relief. Monies raised will go to Samaritan’s Purse. Live music will be provided by Jared Michael Cline and Folkstone String Band. A bounce house will be provided for the little ones by Fulford Heating and Cooling.

Hurricane Florence Benefit Festival
Sat., October 6, 11 a.m.
The Calico Room
107 S Front St
$5 donation per person or donation of water, canned foods, toiletries
The metal scene is spearheading a Hurricane Florence Benefit Festival, with all proceeds and donations going to relieve victims of Hurricane Florence. With music, games, face painting, and more to be announced on the event’s Facebook page, atists and bands include Kristie Lynn, Ryan Cain, Tiffany Elaine, Now Or Never, Ashton Ward, Jessie Avila, Fernando Rivera, STRICKEN, and over a dozen more.

All law enforcement, firefighters, EMS and linemen get in free with ID or badge.

To add to this list, email Shannon Gentry at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s