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Online Concert To Raise Money For St. Louis Artists And Camps For Homeless People

Tents at the encampment off Market Street, where about 50 unhoused individuals have lived for weeks. 5/1/20
File photo | Lindsay Toler | St. Louis Public Radio
Tent Mission STL is one of 11 beneficiaries of Saturday's Justice Beats concert.

An online concert to benefit artists and communities affected by the coronavirus around the world will also raise money for Tent Mission STL, which helps homeless people.

Justice Beats will feature performances by 14 musicians, poets and DJs from the U.S. and other countries, all performing from their homes. 

The livestreamed performances will benefit advocacy groups and causes across the globe, including New York City, Palestine, Miami and St. Louis, and will feature local artists from each region. St. Louis-based artists scheduled to perform include poet and rapper Tef Poe, DJ Agile One and poet Pacia Elaine.

“The festival is basically like our rapid-response effort to help support folks who have lost income and are struggling,” said Tara Tee, a member of Donkeysaddle Projects, a nonprofit activist and multimedia company co-organizing the concert. “This is an effort to respond to this in a way that we can and support artists that are not necessarily making the living that they're used to making with festivals and venues being closed.”

Proceeds from the concert will be split evenly among the 11 beneficiaries. The 11 organizations were chosen because of their work in providing resources to communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, including undocumented immigrants, incarcerated people, Palestinian communities and indegenous people, Tee said.

“We understand that these are the same systems that are creating these issues across these communities,” Tee said. 

The online concert comes about a month after St. Louis officials ordered the shutdown of a camp for homeless people off Market Street. Officials from Tent Mission STL said the group has been working to support other homeless tent encampments in the city and provide hotel rooms and portable restrooms for homeless people in the city. 

Tent Mission STL organizer Alex Cohen said local restaurants and foundations have helped provide food for homeless people so the organization can focus on other essential needs.

“It's been really awesome, because we've been able to cut that cost almost completely out,” Cohen said. Now we can focus on the larger things that's harder for people to do.”

The funding Tent Mission STL receives from the Saturday concert will be split evenly with the STL Mutual Aid to provide checks for essential needs for homeless people in the St. Louis area.

“We're trying to kind of jump in everywhere we can, and our tent keeps growing,” Cohen said. “It’s going to be super helpful, not just financially but also keeping the word going that this is still a thing in St. Louis, people still need support.”

The performances will kick off Saturday at noon.

Follow Chad on Twitter: @iamcdavis

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Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.