Sleeping not so much

Chris McCluskey heads north, hand out.

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Every year, a handful of local acts make the 40-hour trek to Austin, Texas, for the annual South by Southwest festival—this year's representation included Ruth Minnikin and Windom Earle—and theis year Wintersleep comes away with the best stories.

The band got off to a great start supporting The Tragically Hip on part of that band's swing south of the border, and after completing SXSW are now on their way back home. As bassist Jud Haynes puts it, the drive is a grind but they're enjoying the new territory for the time being.

"We're still on the road. We've been in our van for pretty much two days straight driving from Austin to Rochester," he says via Blackberry at nearly 4am Atlantic time. "We drove by Memphis, Nashville, Louisville and Cincinnati already today. Pretty cool geography lesson I'm getting on this trip."

Starting in Rochester, Wintersleep will perform three dates with The Slip before returning home in late March to start work on its third full-length with producer Tony Doogan.

Great benefits

There are five benefit concerts taking place this week, which means stacked bills and fundraising for charitable causes: attractive excuses to hit the clubs. But only one is offering all-inclusive alcohol, and that's the Water for People Canada benefit on March 23 at Garrison Brewery. Gavin Kennedy, one of the event organizers, explains the fundraising initiative, which will feature several sets by Old Man Luedecke.

"The name of the organization is Water for People Canada," he says. "The objective is to fund small $10,000 to $15,000 community-based projects in developing countries."

Kennedy goes on to explain the specific regions in which the initiative is currently invested, including Guatemala, Honduras and Bolivia. WATERCAN employs people from these countries to determine exactly what the areas require in the way of clean water, and the organization responds.

"A typical project might be a community well. In many communities, the women wake up at one in the morning and have to spend hours walking 10 kilometres every day to fetch water," he says. "So by putting a well right in the community it greatly enhances their quality of life and allows them to focus on things like education."

If the concert raises 10 or 15 percent of the funding needed to complete one of these small, sustainable projects, the evening will be deemed a success.

WATERCAN will not be the only cause looking for your support this weekend, however, as the Aids Coalition of Nova Scotia presents the 17th Annual Wearable Art Show at the Marquee Club on March 24. Windom Earle, fresh(ish) from Texas, will perform at the after party.

The most band-intensive event of the weekend is the ARK benefit the same evening featuring Silvergun, The Blank Stares, Gloryhound & The Skyhawks, The Sorrys, Floodland, Thumbdrift, Harbour Fire, Rob Anderson, Kristina Trites, Sidelines and Laura Merriman at Diamonds Lounge. Proceeds will go to help ARK, a centre helping youth in the streets, or those in danger of living in the streets.

Finally, March 25 is a food bank benefit at the Pavilion with performances by bands Seconds to Go, Callahan, Forty Cent Fix, Flatlined, The Giveaways and Skelter Shell.

Who does your music benefit? Email: scene@thecoast.ca

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