Jeff Burrows and his team of volunteers were set to hold the 14th edition of their 24 Hour Drum Marathon this upcoming weekend until the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the wildly popular fundraiser. Coming off of two consecutive years of record breaking fundraising for six local charities ($40K in 2018 and $54K in 2019) the event looked like it would be cancelled. But Burrows will once again be banging on the drums with changes and precautions in place, sending the entertainment online and streamed into people’s homes.
This year, being dubbed “Together Alone”, the event has been slashed from 24 hours to 12 hours, making it the “Half Drum Marathon.” Burrows usually spends 24 hours performing one hour at a time with mainly local and regional musicians and bands. This year, keeping social distancing in mind, Jeff will perform as a duo with one musician at a time, six feet apart, each hour. Only one act will be allowed into Good Time Charly at a time and the public can not attend. The performances will be pre-recorded by Media Street Productions. In a press release Burrows announced, “Videotaping of the musicians allowing one artist on site for each session without audience, will only be possible based on the Ontario governments removal of the emergency order now in effect and extended until May 29.” In addition, the event is being postponed and will be pushed back to June 6th instead of the May 23rd date.
However the event can be safely enjoyed online because the full 12 hours will be streamed onto the Liuna Bluesfest Windsor YouTube page. Liuna 625 is the presenting sponsor of the event and funds raised will be distributed by their organization’s fundraising branch, Champions For Change. Benefiting again this year are House of Sophrosyne, Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services, Harmony in Action, In Honour of The Ones We Love, Canadian Mental Health Association, and St. Clair College Scholarship Fund. These six local charities that are leaders in mental health awareness and creating positive change for challenged communities and disadvantaged individuals.
For the past three Saturday evenings Liuna Bluesfest Windsor has been streaming fantastic musical entertainment online on their YouTube channel as part of their YUNITY Front Porch Party Concert Series. World class acts so far have included Colin MacDonald of The Trews (May 2), Jeff Martin of The Tea Party (May 9), and fast rising international soulful rocker and local favourite Billy Raffoul (May 16). On Saturday, June 6, the final act in the Half Drum Marathon, will also serve as that week’s featured Front Porch Party Concert performer. Fans will be thrilled to enjoy legendary Leamington native and rocker Jody Raffoul!
The full line up of The Half Drum Marathon with Jeff Burrows include:
9:00am to 10:00am Kristopher Marentette
10:00am to 11:00am Wade Sharp
11:00am to 12:00pm Rick LaBonté
12:00pm to 1:00pm A. J. Vanden Berghe
1:00pm to 2:00pm Jay Crowley
2:00pm to 3:00pm D. Von Dobsky
3:00pm to 4:00pm Mark Chichkan
4:00pm to 5:00pm Chris T Van Lare and Debbs Van Lare (The Van Lares)
5:00pm to 6:00pm Stephanie Baker (Twisted Sisters)
6:00pm to 7:00pm Liz Robinson (Twisted Sisters)
7:00pm to 8:00pm Kay Oh Chay
8:00pm to 9:00pm Jody Raffoul
Unfortunately, this year’s edition of the Drum Marathon won’t have the added benefit of raising funds through admission / ticket sales and the onsite raffles and door prizes. The chances of record breaking fundraising for the third year in a row are probably not going to happen. However, the public is encouraged to support the event by donating online.
Anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a beautiful Half Drum Marathon T-Shirt, donated by D&R Apparel, which is sure to be a memorable keepsake of the difficult times the Coronavirus has brought upon humanity.
The Half Drum Marathon can be viewed on the Bluesfest Windsor Youtube Channel from 9am to 9pm on June 6 at https://www.youtube.com/user/BluesFestWindsor/