By Erin L. Souza Posted January 20, 2011, 3:45 PM EST
BOSTON Baseball, music, and charity joined forces for the weekend-long Hot Stove Cool Music fund-raising series for the Foundation to Be Named Later, a branch of the Red Sox Foundation. The main event, an alternative rock concert at the Paradise Rock Club on Saturday night, included sets by headliners the Lemonheads and Buffalo Tom, and drew more than 300 guests and $300,000.
A preconcert V.I.P. party took place in two parts of the Paradise—a downstairs bar, and the balcony with two separate bars—and included a new element this year: donated food from Boston-area restaurants. Guests sampled food ranging from sandwiches and lobster sliders to short ribs and “Hot Stove” soup from more than a half dozen eateries, including Bleacher Bar, Pigalle, Salsa's, Red Sox nation mainstay the Sausage Guy, Vittorio's Italian Kitchen, Stella, and desserts by Kickass Cupcakes and Pinkberry. A silent auction and raffle also took place throughout the evening.
Other new elements were the addition of the Red Sox's two World Series trophies for guests to take photos with, and a Saturday afternoon service project during which volunteers joined three local chefs to serve lunch to Horizons for Homeless Children families and provide them with care packages, sponsored by Wal-Mart.
The laid-back, collegial feeling at the Paradise perfectly matched the event's goal, which aims to mesh baseball, music, and giving back, according to Allyce Najimy, executive director of the Foundation to Be Named Later. “It really takes a whole team of people to make this happen.”
In addition to performances by Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, American Hi-Fi, Kay Hanley (formerly of Letters to Cleo), the Candles, and Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents, the concert featured special appearances by hosts Theo Epstein, executive vice president and general manager of the Red Sox, and Peter Gammons, baseball journalist and founder of the Hot Stove Cool Music series. Actor and Boston native Mike O'Malley served as the evening's M.C. and auctioneer between sets.
Even though decor and branding elements were minimal, Red Sox logo napkins at food stations and donated signed jerseys and game tickets incorporated the team's branding into the event. Sponsors' banners hung around the perimeter of the main space, and a Foundation To Be Named Later step-and-repeat hung behind the stage.