Looking for a chance to dunk your favorite musician into a tank of water to raise money for charity? Well, Denver’s premier independent music festival, the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase, can fulfill your need.
This year, the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) has paired with Youth on Record, a Denver-based non-profit organization that aims to help at-risk youth through music education. Youth on Record will be hosting a dunk tank during the entire UMS (which kicked off Thursday, July 23 and runs until Sunday, July 26).
Every last weekend in July, the UMS turns Denver’s South Broadway district into 12 whole blocks of music-packed festival grounds. More than 400 bands are playing 20 different stages this year. Many UMS musicians are from Colorado and a few are from out of town, but all are able to take part in Youth on Record’s dunk tank.
All a musician has to do is sign up for a 30 minute time slot to sit in Youth on Record’s tank, then wait for a passing fan to drop them into the murky depths with a well-placed throw. These fans can give a $5 donation to Youth on Record for three balls or give $10 for seven balls. And, although the musicians will get soaked, they will make a difference. After all, music matters.
That’s what Denver hip-hop band the Flobots were thinking when they created Youth on Record three years ago. A press release by UMS sponsor Schomp Mini explains that Youth on Record started as Flobots.org in 2008, but when Denver Public Schools became involved, the organization changed its mission (and its name).
In 2012, Youth on Record built its own classroom called the Youth Media Studio in West Denver and began employing local musicians as teachers. Now the school has a team of 15 local musicians who teach a number of for-credit music classes to 900 troubled kids enrolled in Denver Public Schools.
The main goal within teaching these kids music is to help them graduate, notes Youth on Record’s website. 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.
That’s where fans’ dunk tank donations will likely come in handy: the more lessons and teachers Youth on Record can afford, the more students served, which means more students graduating. So if you believe in the power of music, head down to South Broadway before the weekend is over and dunk a musician (or two).