Although the 15th annual Denver Post Underground Music Showcase ended yesterday, July 26, its charity efforts will have a long-lasting effect. The festival’s non-profit partner Youth on Record, which helps at-risk kids through music education, was able to raise $1,000 through its UMS-sponsored dunk tank.
Fans were able to donate $5 for 3 balls or $10 for 7 balls to dunk their favorite musicians or showrunners, who signed up for 30 minute turns in the tank. According to Youth on Record’s Operations and Media Manager Andrea Murphy, all the money raised is going toward more programming and classes for young music makers.
Youth on Record was started by Denver hip-hop band the Flobots in 2008. Working with Denver Public Schools, the organization has taught more than 900 at-risk students in its Youth Media Studio, located in West Denver. The school employees 15 local musicians as teachers and offers a number of for-credit music classes.
Last year, Youth on Record’s efforts proved that music education can give kids an incentive to graduate and better themselves. A 2014-2015 evaluation report highlights that 100 percent of all students attending Youth on Record’s music classes have improved their GPA, and 77 percent of students from one cited school showed increased attendance records.
The Denver Post Community Foundation also pitched in $5,000 to help Youth on Record enroll more students. “We have a great relationship with [UMS director] Kendall Smith and [production manager] Will Dupree; they have been great supporters and helped us in cross-promoting by connecting us to so many musicians,” Murphy said.
Youth on Record executive director Jami Duffy came up with the dunk tank idea during last year’s UMS, but it was put together in the last minute, Murphy explained. This year, the organization wanted to draw more people, so it created the hashtag “#dunkamusician.”
Both fans, industry folk and musicians had fun participating. While there weren’t any towels for dunkees to dry off with, Youth on Record bought a few wardrobes from Goodwill for musicians to dress up in before getting soaked. Radio personality Alf of Channel 93.3 wore an oversized purple dress, while one of the male members of Denver band The Royal wore a one-piece swimsuit.
On Sunday, Illegal Pete’s marketing director Virgil Dickerson drew a big crowd of supporters who were eager to dunk him. Although he had never been in a dunk tank before (and the water was pretty dirty by that point), he had fun.
“A lot of my friends showed up and a few of them had pretty good arms. I got dunked in the first minute or two, but got dunked about 15 times,” Dickerson said. “A lot of them couldn’t get me, so I inspired them buy another round of balls and they eventually got me.”
“Illegal Pete’s strongly believes in Youth on Record’s mission and what they do for the DPS school system,” Dickerson continued. “We’re really excited for the next phase of Youth on Record because they have a lot of fun things they plan on programming.”
To further sponsor that programming, Youth on Record has set up an art display at Hope Tank clothing store on South Broadway. It will also bring back the dunk tank during the Higher Ground Music Festival, which takes place Aug. 20-22 in the River North neighborhood. Read more about Youth on Record and how to help support local music education right here.