VALPARAISO | Anyone wanting to beat the summer heat, listen to a free concert and maybe help save a child from being poisoned can come to the Splash Bash Concert Aug. 1 at the Central Park Plaza amphitheater.
Tim Gehrels, of Portage, is a senior business major at Indiana University working as an intern for 27 Entertainment, a downtown Valparaiso business that specializes in event planning and recording. He's also the fundraising director for the Thirst Project chapter at IU.
The Thirst Project is a nonprofit organization working to provide clean drinking water to the roughly billion people in the world without it. The group raises money to dig wells in third world countries where 4,400 children die daily from drinking contaminated water.
Gehrels said, when his boss told him to organize an event for a good cause, it was a no-brainer. It is being done with 27 Entertainment and its spinoff company We Create Media, that is involved in corporate branding and advertising. He is getting help from two other interns, Liz Williams and Bridget Mundtzing.
Four bands have agreed to perform at the benefit concert. Three of them are area bands: Sharp James, stop.drop.rewind, and Anchors. The fourth, Coyote Talk, is Nashville-based, but the leader is a region native. Gehrels said the bands' music is a blend of folk, independent and easy listening.
"It won't be like crazy rock," he said. "It will be kind of James Taylor-ish or Mumford and Sons. It should be fun for all ages."
The free event will start at 6 p.m. and go until 9:30 p.m. or so. While it is a free concert, donations will be sought for the Thirst Project. Several vendors will have booths set up, including Valpo Velvet, Kernels and Cones and Valpo Viennas, and will donate a portion of their sales to the cause.
Gehrels said he also is looking for additional sponsors for the concert. Anyone interested can contact him at Tgehrels@indiana.edu. Thirst Project merchandise will be on sale, and the goal is to raise at least $5,000, which is the cost to drill one well in Africa.