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Nellie McKay Benefit Rocks Woodstock

Sunday, August 28, 2005

On August 27, Columbia recording artist Nellie McKay played to a sold-out crowd at the Colony Café in Woodstock to benefit Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The evening began with founders Jenny and Doug welcoming the packed house, followed by a heartfelt introduction from Catskill Animal Sanctuary director, Kathy Stevens. Kathy shared some of her experiences with rescued animals to draw attention to their unique, emotional lives, and talked about the true support and friendship between her sanctuary and WFAS. Opening act Dan Piraro, creator of the nationally syndicated cartoon “Bizarro,” kept the audience laughing (sometimes to tears) with his slide show act. Through his razor wit, the audience learned about important animal issues and was greatly entertained at the same time.

Nellie hit the stage with a band of stellar musicians: Tony Levin on bass, Jerry Marotta on drums, and Ben Butler on guitar. As an artist committed to speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, Nellie opened with “Columbia is Bleeding,” about the suffering of primates at Columbia University’s research laboratories. Nellie mesmerized the crowd with her beautiful piano playing and singing, drawing songs from her highly acclaimed debut album, “Get Away From Me,” as well as those from her upcoming release. The evening ended with an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Earlier in the day, WFAS put on an open house to give the public a “sneak peek” of the farm. Throughout the day, visitors gave pigs belly rubs, held chickens, fed treats to the steers, and lavished love on Dylan, the newly rescued calf (destined for a veal crate), as well as learned about the future plans for WFAS.

Both the open house and concert were a huge success thanks to the generosity of many people!

Thanks to the many volunteers who helped with all the preparations, gave tours, sold merchandise, and kept the popcorn and lemonade flowing for the open house; to Luisella & Chris of Lily Pond Studio for setting up a massage tent and giving all the day’s proceeds to the farm; to Satya Magazine for handing out free copies of their thought-provoking animal advocacy magazine and to all who donated to the silent auction, and sold tickets and merchandise before the concert.

Great big thanks to Nellie McKay, her Manager Robin Pappas and to Dan Piraro for their very generous donations of their time and talents; to Gary Chetkof and Noel Nelson and everyone at WDST for presenting and promoting the concert; and to the Colony Café for their help and donation of the room.


Songwriter/piano player Nellie McKay has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and NPR. She has spent the last year and a half headlining and opening shows (for Sting, Lou Reed, and Cyndi Lauper, among others ) in the U.S. and Europe to promote her debut album “Get Away From Me.” “…With her unpredictable wit, explicit lyrics, musical elegance and charismatic on-stage bravado, she “raps, rocks, scats, croons-and defies categorization with cocky verve” (Washington Post).


“No one — from The New Republic to Time Out New York to Variety to The Washington Post to New York magazine to Entertainment Weekly to concert reviewers around the nation — seems to have much uncertainty about McKay’s talent and originality or her personal appeal. ”Invigorating . . . bracing,” said People magazine; ”supremely gifted, charming and darkly funny,” said The Washington Post; a ”rich mix of purity and pathos,” said The Onion. She is like a reverse prism that takes light from everywhere, musically and socially and politically, and coalesces it into a single unique sensibility. (It’s no wonder that the musical comparisons are so numerous.)”


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