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Jul 21, 2009 6:19 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Bands set for food pantry benefit

Jul 21, 2009 6:19 PM

John Kowalenko’s plan to bring together a crew of musicians and restaurateurs to raise money for cash-strapped East End food pantries is coming together.

The event, which will be held on August 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Principi farm in Amagansett, will feature a performance by a cast of serious musicians, all with ties to both East Hampton and to famous musical groups.

The group, calling itself the “Band of Brothers,” includes Simon Kirk from Bad Company, G.E. Smith from Saturday Night Live, John Conte from Billy Joel’s band and Jeff Kazee from Bon Jovi and Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes. Local musicians will warm up the audience and surprise guests are expected.

“The show opens up with the Escola de Samba BOOM, who will open up coming through the audience, and will end up on stage and turn into the opening act with Bastards of Boom,” said Mr. Kowalenko. “Rob Camillio, out of New York, is a cross between Bruce Springsteen and B.B. King. The Surf Dogs come on next—they’re a bit like the Ventures. Then will be Mamma Lee and Friends, and Danni D. She’s the new Madonna. She’ll have a couple of backup singers and dancers. All these musicians are donating their time, which is really cool.”

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop and New York City mayoral candidate John Finan are also expected to attend.

“All the politicians are calling because they all want to be involved in this, which is great,” said Mr. Kowalenko.

The event is the offshoot of a smaller soup kitchen-style benefit that Mr. Kowalenko’s Art of Eating catering company sponsored last winter to raise money for South Fork food pantries. Mr. Kowalenko’s ambitious new project will raise, he hopes, as much as $100,000 for 11 food pantries. He is also asking concertgoers to bring with them food to donate and the restaurants that are participating will immediately donate their leftover food to food pantries.

“In my working with the local food pantries here on the East End over the last 14 years, I have never seen the need for financial support and actual food that there is now. Each week the shelves are emptied by an ever increasing demand by local families for food,” said Mr. Kowalenko. “Pantries are trying to feed 1,000 people with the same amount of food they fed 400 people with last year. Someone is going hungry.”

Other features at the event will be a raffle, with just 250 tickets sold, for a restored 1968 Camaro. One company has donated metal water bottles, Roger Waters has donated a guitar and Jimmy Buffett has donated a package deal that includes a limousine ride to one of his concerts at the beach.

There will be two levels of field seating, one for $50 and one, closer to the stage, for $75. VIP tickets, which begin at $250, include entry into a tent where food from Ace Metro Beverage, Art of Eating Catering, Babette’s, The Clam Bar, Dark Horse Catering, Della Femina, Estia’s Little Kitchen, Exquisite Foods, Foody’s, Gurney’s Inn, Hamptons Coffee Company, Runaways, The Seafood Shop, Southampton Publick House, Stuart’s Seafood Market, Taste of the North Fork, Thyme & Again, Wildthyme, and Wölffer Estate Vineyards and other restaurants that are confirming their attendance daily, will be served.

General admission tickets will be sold at all Bridgehampton National Bank locations. VIP tickets are available at the Ladles of Love hotline at 267-3312. Mr. Kowalenko is still looking for a few volunteers at info@hamptonevent.com and up-to-date information on the event can be found at ladlesoflove.org.

“It’s going to be a very interesting evening, not your typical round of tents,” said Mr. Kowalenko.

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JK is a good guy. I used to work a trade show every January with him for ten days in NYC. He would take the restaurant leftovers we had every night and bag them and distribute them to homeless people on the street as we walked back to our hotel.

It is something I never will forget.
By William Rodney (558), southampton on Jul 29, 09 9:27 AM
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