16 Jul 2013

Rock Stars on Nantucket

The weather may have been wet and muggy on Nantucket Friday night, but the atmosphere was electric and the star line up HOT at the new VFW Post off New South Road.  The All Star Jam Band (featuring rock legends formerly of the band Boston, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Fosterchild, The Wailers and James Brown band) took the stage to regale attendees with a ninety minute concert and raise money for one of Nantucket’s most important institutions – A Safe Place, the island’s domestic violence and sexual assault center.

The event was a huge success, with guests being treated to an old fashioned pre-concert tailgate BBQ and the opportunity to socialize with friends and neighbors.There were multiple raffle prizes to choose from, the most coveted being a chance to win Barry Goodreau’s own guitar which was donated to the lucky winner mid-way through the night.  Local and summer “groupies” caught the rock star fever as they sported glow necklaces, clapped and sung along to the reverberating tunes and danced the night away.

As many of the local fundraising events do, this one seemed like a contradiction in terms. It was a celebration being held strictly to benefit those who currently have no cause to celebrate – many fearing for their physical safety, some for their lives and the lives of their children.  Sitting under a bright colored beach umbrella gazing at the pristine Atlantic Ocean or perched on a rocker on one of the large summer home verandas, it’s difficult to comprehend that any level of violence could occur in this serene, seemingly unspoiled place.  And yet, it happens here, just like it does in every community in the world…sometimes at the hand of a longtime local resident and sometimes in the life of a first time Nantucket visitor – but it happens.  Which is why it’s so critical that the island have non-profit organizations like A Safe Place to provide free resources, advise and support to the victims.

As the music blared Friday night and multi-colored flashing lights illuminated the celebratory faces of partygoers, I gazed out over the crowded venue and had a revelation. As impressive and entertaining as the All Star Jam Band was, the true rock stars on Nantucket are not on a stage.  They are the staff and volunteers of A Safe Place and other community minded organizations, the public servants at our local police and fire departments, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, doctors offices, courthouse and multiple other institutions.  Others even less obvious – the local business people who donate incessantly to the multiple island fundraisers, the event planners like Nantucket Island Events who donate their time and talent extending way beyond their fees and the humble volunteers who quietly work behind the scenes 365 days a year to assist in any capacity needed to ensure that all of us get to live in a community where public safety and concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens is priority number one.

If you missed this years All Star Jam to benefit A Safe Place Nantucket, put it on your calendar as a “must attend” next summer.  In the meantime, you can check out to discover multiple Nantucket organizations needing volunteers and donations to continue working round the clock to meet the needs of our community.  Host an affair at your home, join a board or committee or simply gather friends and family to attend one of the many fundraising events that are making our island better.

Rock On…

Shellie Dunlap

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