FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 16, 2018
Local artists will perform to support survivors of sexual assault this weekend
Halifax | On Saturday, April 21, local singer-songwriters are coming together to take a stand against sexual assault and fundraise for Halifax’s Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. Together Our Voices Are Powerful will be a night of songs and a way to show collective resilience during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Pop singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emily Stuart had a recent experience that inspired her to join the line-up. She was excited when a man she describes as a Canadian music executive told her he loved her work. Stuart remembers him saying he supports her, and wanted to work with her. Then, suddenly, a hotel room key slowly slid across the table toward her. She says she was “appalled” and will play at this event to take a stand against harassment.
“As someone who has been through my unfair share of social injustice, disrespect and disregard for the word no, this event is very important to me,” says Stuart.
Jackie Stevens, Avalon’s Executive Director, says events such as this reinforce Avalon’s powerful #StartByBelieving message of support. “At a time when #MeToo is shining a light on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and abuse in society and inspiring many people to share their stories and revisit past traumas, this event offers people a way of coming together and joining voices so they feel less alone,” Stevens says.
Halifax-based trio, Neon Dreams, will perform with songwriter Jodi Guthro, who last month released her breakout song “Broken Wings” on International Women’s Day. Neon Dreams publicly showed they are in solidarity with survivors by dropping out of their tour with Canadian rock-band Hedley, after allegations of sexual misconduct against Hedley’s lead singer surfaced. Neon Dreams is a band that defies genre pigeonholing, as they draw freely upon pop, rock, EDM, hip-hop and reggae elements. They have rapidly emerged as one of the brightest new stars on the Canadian music horizon with tracks reaching over 8 million streams on Spotify and sales of more than 10,000 units in Canada. “We think that it’s important that artists use their voice to support others that may need it. Hopefully we can raise awareness and money for a worthy cause,” the band says.
Together Our Voices are Powerful is happening at St. Matthew’s Church on Barrington St. in Halifax. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Writer and broadcaster Stephanie Domet will emcee. It’s the first time Avalon’s held a major fundraiser during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of sexualized violence and highlighting the need for support and services to those affected by sexual assault.
Another featured performer is indie-rock artist T. Thomason. With over a decade of experience in the music industry, T. Thomason is a force to be reckoned with in the East Coast Canadian music scene, garnering multiple ECMA and MNS nominations, placements on Degrassi, song-writing awards and recognition by CBC Music as one of Canada’s Top 25 Under 25. He has shared the stage with The Trews, Joel Plaskett, Kim Mitchell and Gord Downie, among others. “I’m super excited to be part of the Avalon Centre fundraiser… I admire their commitment to the education that is imperative to changing attitudes which perpetuate sexual violence. The work of the Avalon Centre is crucial for creating a safer, more self-aware city. Halifax is lucky to have them,” he says of his motivation to participate.
Performer Makayla-Lynn was named “one to watch” by Rolling Stone Magazine and earned Music Nova Scotia’s country album of the year in 2017. “I think music has the ability to uplift people’s spirits when they need it most. I was blessed with the gift of song-writing and if I can make just one person smile it will never feel like a job to me,” she says. With millions of Youtube video views and hundreds of shows a year from iconic venues like the Bluebird Café to crowds of 30,000 at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, Makayla Lynn splits her time between Nova Scotia and Nashville being mentored by some of the best in the business.
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased through Eventbrite. There will also be a silent auction. All proceeds will go to Avalon to support services for victims/survivors including the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, Community/Legal Education and Training and specialized sexual assault trauma-specific therapeutic counselling.
Avalon Sexual Assault Centre is a non-profit feminist organization working to eliminate sexual assault/abuse, and to change the current socio-political culture that fosters sexism, social injustice and other forms of oppression.
Contact: Jackie Stevens, Executive Director, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Halifax, NS, firstname.lastname@example.org. The performing artists are also available for interviews: Neon Dreams and Jodi Guthro (John Poirier: 902 429-0122); Makayla Lynn (email@example.com); T. Thomason (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Emily Stuart (email@example.com).