Rock Art for the Skate Park raises close to $2,000 for newly announced skate park

Local bands entertain while raising funds for Cullman’s new skate park

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(Sammy Confer for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2214 on Saturday hosted Rock Art for the Skate Park, a fundraiser for the City of Cullman’s newly announced skate park.

A trio of bands were on hand as they looked to put on an amazing show for the fans. Donations were taken and all of the proceeds went to help fund the new local skate park. 

Odd Polly, Big Gaping Holes, and Hassleinone had fans dancing during their performances and merchandise was tossed to the crowd. Matthew Sanford, one of the band members from Hassleinone, helped set up for the big event Saturday, with the help of his fellow bandmates.

“Me, personally, have been in the north Alabama music scene for 15+ years, so I knew bands who would be really down to play for a cause like this.” Sanford said. ” Our singer is good with sound and we had help from our local music friend, Cody Parson, so we didn’t need to find anyone to run audio for the event. Our drummer is good with lights, so production wasn’t needed from any outside sources either. And our bassist is really good with cameras, so he got a lot of his camera friends to come out and document the event.”

One of the only issues was finding an all-ages event venue. Sanford said the groups wanted to host the concert in a venue that did not offer alcohol. Little did Sanford know, a local VFW Post would soon offer up a deal the fundraisers couldn’t pass up.

“We tried our best to have a safe place for everyone. We don’t really like to drink, so the VFW offered to donate their establishment for the event. If there was to be a music venue pop up, I would be the first to try for the booking position because I know I could make Cullman a cool little music city,” he said. “It’s really important to have all-ages venue for stuff like this. We really want to inspire all of the kids around here to start bands with their friends and to play shows. It’s good for them and everyone else, I think.”

Sanford said he believes donating the proceeds for such a worthy cause is “very important, especially if the goal is to help fund a local skate park.”

He continued, “They believe in the way of expressing and experiencing life through art in many forms, so everyone was so ecstatic about it, especially me. I’ve been skateboarding since I was 13 and I still do today. It’s just driving over an hour to get to a park where there’s strangers stinks. I want to be able to drive 15 minutes up the road and skate with my friends in a place where we won’t get kicked out or in trouble.”

More than 100 people who showed up for Saturday night’s event, with a mixture of familiar faces and some new ones to the bands.

“It literally meant the world to all of us. I haven’t booked/played a show in Cullman since I was 18, so to see some familiar faces and mostly new ones, it felt surreal,” he said. “I’ve never seen 100 people come to a local rock show in this city since I was 14 and even then, there weren’t that many people attending. So it was nostalgic and surreal for sure.”

Sanford gave some advice to those people that are looking to start a band themselves, but don’t know where to start as far as donating to a worthy cause. One of the most important factors is networking and staying true to one’s roots.

“Don’t be afraid to stand out or be different because that’s what this world needs the most right now. Get inspired by your favorite bands and stay inspired. Find where your personal morals lie. Don’t donate to a cause that is out to undermine, spread hate, or scam you. Find a cause local to you and start there. Then invite your friends. That’s all it takes is just starting something. It feels good to give back to the community. You’ll always get back what you put into it. Make one if you can’t find one. Holiday events such as raising food or toys for tots are both good places to start,” he concluded.

The event ended raised $1,850, including a $500 donation from the VFW Post 2214 and a $100 donation from Alabama State Board of Affairs Vice-Chairman Scott Gedling, VFW, to go towards the city’s newly announced skate park.

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