The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday October 18th


Whole Foods Market brings back beloved charity music concert to Nightlight

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the value of a song?

That’s what staff members at Whole Foods Market in Chapel Hill want to know as they prepare for their second annual Whole Planet Benefit Concert tonight at Nightlight.

Tickets are $8 for members of the club, $10 for non-members. All money raised will be donated to the Whole Planet Foundation.

Each year from Feb. 19 to Mar. 31, Whole Foods Markets nationwide participate in the National Prosperity Campaign to raise money and awareness for Whole Planet Foundation, a Whole Foods nonprofit that alleviates global poverty through the transfer of micro-funds to emerging entrepreneurs around the world. Stores typically use techniques ranging from rounding up to the next dollar at the register to holding community festivals.

Ian Leinbaugh, an employee at Whole Foods Market who helped organize the event, saw the potential for a fun community event that would attract many to the cause. The first Whole Planet Foundation Benefit Concert last year was an event that Leinbaugh called successful.

“We had lots of Whole Foods Market employees come out and a decent number of people who heard about it, people we knew and people we didn’t know,” Leinbaugh said.

“Everyone enjoyed coming out and enjoying a great cause and getting to know the people who work at Whole Foods.”

As with any first try, Leinbaugh said that some aspects of the concert could have ran more smoothly.

“The lineup was a little more diverse so it was a little jarring — death metal electronica to rock and roll, so we tried to smooth that out this year.”

This year’s lineup is more focused on folk, bluegrass, blues, and rock with one band who perhaps stands out among the crowd: a reggae band with ties to Ethiopia.

“Our demographic are conscious people,” dub Addis, co-founder Dereje Tesfaye, said.

“Most inspiration (for performing at the concert) comes from the small farmer in Africa or a tailor in Central America (who) gets to have a better life. Many talented individuals around the globe go unnoticed because of funds. So, it's an honor for us to be part of the solution.”

More than anything, Leinbaugh said that the dual purpose of raising money for a great cause and promoting his friends and coworkers in his community is a great feeling.

“I am really excited about people getting the chance to see a lot of these great musicians who work at Whole Foods and in doing so supporting a great cause,” Leinbaugh said.

“I’m hoping that people will come for a folk band and stay for the reggae band — sort of break it down so we can attract all demographics.”

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