By: Emily Thomson
Bands Fur Animals is an organization established June 22, 2013 in St. Catharines, Ontario, It originally started out as a Showcase to raise money for the Lincoln County Humane Society. At this showcase over $1,500 was raised. Bands Fur Animals became a stand alone organization that teamed up with Music Scene to change this issue. They work closely with Kevin Strooband, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Humane Society.
How did you come up with the idea of starting Bands Fur Animals?
I started volunteering at the Lincoln County Humane Society and wanted to help raise money for them. I figured why not combine two things I love; music and animals.
There are many organizations involving animals today, how did you decide that you wanted to link the organization with the music scene?
Music is what I was raised on. My dad (when he was my age) put on shows around St. Catharines and I kind of just caught the band bug from him. Music is that common denominator that brings people together throw an amazing cause with that and you have a successful organization.
How did you know that bands and artist would be interested in a organization like this?
Truth is I didn’t know but you can’t go through life wondering you just have to go for it and see what happens. I started with bands I knew and loved. Bands that were my friends and family. And they support me and my beliefs / ideas.
The mascot piper, has a big importance in the organization. Can you explain to us why?
Piper is amazing. She is a rescue dog from the states that was from a “Kill Shelter”. A “Kill Shelter” is a shelter that euthanizes the animal if it’s not adopted by a certain point. The Lincoln County Humane Society brought her here (her Shelter name was “Pippy”). She stayed at the LCHS for about a year and a half I believe and was given the title “long term resident”. She inspires me as odd as it sounds. She is a beautiful dog with a personality that everyone loves. Piper is adopted and lives on a beautiful 7 acre farm. She’s important in the organization because she shows us that through patience and hope there will always be love and support.
Bands Fur Animals is a really good idea that many musicians will take a liking to. Is there any way they can help out or get involved?
They can contact me (Jess Greene) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Liking” and “Sharing” the Facebook page always helps: www.facebook.com/BandsFurAnimals. We do put on shows so if bands are interested again contacting me directly to see if we’re putting on shows is great.
Is Bands Fur Animals going to spread across the country getting more bands involved?
I hope so!! I’m focusing on Niagara and GTA right now because it’s hard to spread out with such a small staff.
The showcase that was held raised over $1,500, what was it like and can we expect anymore in the future?
That event was a lot of fun. Again, it was our first show so we were testing the waters in regards to turn out. I hope to do a Bands Fur Animals Festival every year. Several bands spread across two venues a noon to midnight show all ages. That’s still in the works though.
How were the bands chosen?
The bands that I have now are bands that I believe in and support. I help these three bands with promotion and booking and stand behind them 100%. Bitter Kids and I Got the Girl were on the first show and personally inspire me. They’re so young and the passion they have for both animals and music is quite humbling. A Divine Silence came later after I seen them at a St. Catharines Show and spoke with Guitarist Nick Baskerville. The intense performance they gave and the vibe that came off the crowd was quite amazing. I now manage A Divine Silence on the side of Bands Fur Animals. Having these three bands, they are my family and we all have a connection. I don’t pick bands based on genre or ticket sales but more on performance and how they are as people. You can have amazing shows and be sold out but if you’re not approachable or you’re immature and catty off stage I don’t really feel comfortable promoting that.
Do you personally have any pets yourself?
Yes, I have Piper (dog) as well as Spike and Stewie (cats). They’re all rescues.
How has the response been so far to Bands Fur Animals?
The response for BFA has been mind blowing. Wasn’t expecting it to be honest. We just hit 200 “likes” on Facebook. As well as having some celebrity support. Warms my heart really.
Bands Fur Animals is something that as people find out about will take a liking to, is there any ways fans can get involved and spread awareness?
Again, “Liking” and “Sharing” our Facebook page is always huge! We always encourage everyone to come out to our shows. And I’m always looking for high school volunteers for my “foot crew” and event staff so they can fulfill their community hours.