Editor’s Note: This story was updated after the event to include the total amount of money raised.
Fingers may have cramped and voices may be sore after an Edmonton band pursued its third 24-hour music marathon, raising $21,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
The Dungarees staged a gig-a-thon at Have Mercy restaurant in Old Strathcona on Oct. 6. Except for 15 minutes breaks once an hour, there was at least one person from the band on stage at all times.
This was the third time the Dungarees put on the event. In 2016, they raised $15,000, and last year they raised $13,000.
“It is exhausting but it’s so rewarding,” said singer and bass player James Murdoch.
“We could have done a concert and it would have been a two-hour concert. We would have donated the proceeds but we wanted to just symbolically show it’s around-the-clock battle when you fight cancer.”
The band, hoped to raise or surpass $30,000. Donations go towards the foundation’s’ patient financial assistance program.
“It allows patients to not worry about paying the bills,” said guitar player Kiron Jhass, who is also a registered nurse at the Cross Cancer Institute.
“A lot of patients are taking time off work. They’re coming from out of town and into the city so they need to find lodging, prescriptions and all kinds of things. We want to be able to help folks focus on their treatment and not so much on making ends meet.”
Despite the band’s previous experience playing 24-hour gig-a-thons, Murdoch said are always challenges.
“When it gets closer to three, four, five or six in the morning and you’ve been up for that long, it starts to feel like maybe you’re in a bit of a dreamland,” he said leading up to the event.
“When it gets really late in the evening or early into the next morning, your body wants to shut down, the biggest thing about playing is your fingers start to hurt and you start to lose your voice. But it is what it is. It wouldn’t be what it was if it wasn’t difficult. It wouldn’t be worth doing if it wasn’t difficult.”
Murdoch said the band tries to pace themselves so they can make it to the finish line.
“That last stretch from four in the morning to eight in the morning, it’s just us. So, just us for very few people,” Jhass said with a laugh.
“At the end of the day, music is a ton of fun. We’re having a blast. I think we’re just preparing by playing all day, keeping limber and having lots of people out here to support.”
Donations can be made at this link.