Columbus-born band Caamp did more this weekend than delight audiences with their first concert in their hometown since December 2019.
Caamp, a folk group known for songs such as “All the Debts I Owe” and “By and By”, performed at Express Live! Friday and Saturday. They’ve also brought philanthropy to town through a partnership with the Columbus Music Commission, hosting a musical instrument drive called The Gift of Music just outside the concert entrance.
Thane Leshner, project manager for the Columbus Music Commission, said the partnership between Caamp and the CMC began when Adam Sensenbrenner, director of Caamp, attended one of CMC’s monthly forums, Music Business Mondays, which was discussing how to get into the music industry.
“The people of Caamp are great for the community,” Leshner said. “They are very philanthropic and they let us do that.
Taylor Meier, the lead singer of Caamp, encouraged the crowd at the end of the show to pursue a career in music if they have any idea, nodding to the goal of The Gift of Music with instrumentation. The audience greeted Meier’s words with substantial cheers.
Leshner said the CMC partnered with Columbus City Schools three years ago to launch the musical instrument player. Leshner said the goal of the campaign is to provide new instruments to schools with underfunded art programs.
“Our motivation is that funding for schools for the arts has, over the past two decades, been reduced,” Leshner said. “And the Columbus school system, we talked to them, and they said they’ve owned some of the same instruments for a long time.”
Last year, the CMC had 11 sites in the city and collected 800 instruments for distribution, Leshner said. This year’s campaign continues and will run through next weekend at various locations in Columbus, such as Easton Town Center and Groove U. Those interested in donating instruments to Student Instrument Drive can find more information about The Gift of Music. website.
In addition to schools in the city of Columbus, Leshner said the instruments collected during the collection will also be donated to other programs.
“We’re going to send instruments to a few different programs – [Arts & College Preparatory Academy] and also Franklinton Preparatory Academy, ”Leshner said.
For some members of the audience, Caamp’s shows this weekend were their first concert experience since the start of the pandemic.
Caroline Porterfield, a freshman in biology, said she missed the energy of live shows.
“I literally went to a concert the day it all stopped, and I didn’t come back to that environment, and I love it,” Porterfield said. “The energy is unreal.”
Porterfield said her favorite thing about Caamp was their universal style and music to suit all moods.
“My favorite song is ’26’,” Porterfield said. “I listen to it all day, every day, whatever the mood.”
Lydia Muldoon, a first year in psychology, said it was also her first time at a concert since the start of the pandemic. The new policy at Express Live! requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests up to 72 hours before entry to the concert provided an added level of comfort, she said.
“I haven’t been to a concert for so long, and this is my favorite band,” Muldoon said. “It reassures me that everyone is vaccinated. “