Dhruva Krishna for years has been a driving force behind the promotion of the music scene here in Pittsburgh. I met him while working at James Street Gastropub, and every day I knew I would walk into work and either see him sitting behind the screen of his laptop, sifting through hundreds of emails from bands wanting to play at the venue; playing sound man for various small shows while simultaneously studying for his pre-law classes; or drumming away like Animal himself with a multitude of different bands. Chances are, if you are in the local music scene at all, fan or musician, you have met Dhruva with a smile on his face. However, this staple to Pittsburgh music is leaving us to pursue law school in Los Angeles. Knowing Dhruva though, it’s no surprise that he’s leaving with a bang.
Dhruva has two huge events planned for the beginning of May, AKA this week! Friday, May 4th, the Mars Landing Party - Mars Jackson’s album release party for “Good Days Never Last Forever” - will be happening at Spirit in Lawrenceville beginning at 9PM with an hour-long pre-game party sponsored by Creatives Drink, Pennsylvania Libations, and Misra Records (to which Mars is the first hip hop artist to be signed!) with free drinks will be offered to ticket holders. After 10PM, ticket holders will have to purchase drinks from the bar as they enjoy the opening DJ sounds of Christo. At 11PM, Mars will take the stage with Nice Rec, and then Pittsburgh favorites Beauty Slap will close out the night starting at 12AM. This show is a can’t-miss event full of some of Pittsburgh’s best talent. But the fun doesn’t end there that weekend, because just the following night, a fundraiser show doubling as a send-off to Dhruva will be taking place just a short drive up Butler Street at Cattivo.
B.Y.E.: A Fundraiser for Prevention Point Pittsburgh is an event, cleverly named this year as a farewell to Pittsburgh, which Dhruva has had a hand in planning for about 2 years now. The last fundraiser event took place at James Street, and I was lucky enough to be able to work the door for it and enjoy all of the awesome music. This year it will be taking place at Cattivo from 7PM to 1AM and has a lineup that is jam-packed with a variety of some of the most talented musicians Pittsburgh has to offer. “This event has a lot of artists coming from all parts of the Pittsburgh Music Scene. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't just selecting from a specific ‘group’ of players. Instead, I called in all the favors I could and brought in some of my favorite acts that I've gotten to know over the past five years,” Dhruva says on the array of artists he selected for his last event here in this city, even mentioning that a few surprises may take place that evening. The line-up currently features:
Max Somerville, Nathan Zoob of Wreck Loose
Mars Jackson (two shows in two nights!)
Scott and Rosanna
Ferdinand the Bull
Jon Bindley of Bindley Hardware Co.
Lucy Clabby & Mac Inglis of Buffalo Rose
Shawn Mazzei of Dan Bubien & The Delta Struts
Abigail Iksic of Run the Meat
Michael Zech of The Bleil Brothers
Sruli Broocker of Chillent
All proceeds to this event will benefit Prevention Point Pittsburgh (PPP), a nonprofit organization “dedicated to providing health empowerment services to injection drug users. PPP is invested in not only the well-being of its clients, but the larger community. In April 2002, PPP established a county-authorized needle exchange site in East Liberty. Since that time, over 5,000 injection drug users have enrolled into our program for critical prevention services,” according to the PPP website.
“In addition to needle exchange services, PPP has grown to include comprehensive case management services, assistance to drug treatment, individualized risk-reduction counseling, health education, condom and bleach distribution, overdose prevention with Narcan prescription, and free HIV, Hepatitis C, and STD screening in collaboration with Allies for Health + Wellbeing, formerly the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.”
Dhruva’s first event raised nearly $1,000 for PPP, and he’s hoping to exceed that mark this year. “I began working with PPP about two years ago when I put on my first fundraiser for them at James Street. That show was a tribute show where local bands covered groups from the 90s who had members suffer from opiate addiction: Scott and Rosanna covered Sublime, MANIC SOUL covered Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a supergroup featuring myself with members of The Summercamp, Bat Zuppel and the Nox Boys covered Nirvana,” Dhruva recalls. It went so well that it was hard for Dhruva to stray away from the PPP with this fundraiser, touching on the spreading and thriving opiate abuse problem in Western Pennsylvania. “When I was putting this show together, I spent a lot of time reflecting on which organization I wanted to help benefit. I chose PPP because of how well I worked with them at the past fundraiser, but also because their work is incredibly relevant and topical to the needs of Pittsburgh today. Their mission is an incredibly important one and I am ecstatic to help them make a difference in our community.”
With Dhruva’s leaving, he hopes others will continue the trend of using concerts and events as a means of fundraising for local nonprofits. “One of my main hopes is that people see this event and realize they can use their passions to make a difference. If I can inspire other people to use their talents and skills to benefit community fundraisers, this event would be a success,” he says. With events like this, The Wilkins Block Party which happened last month, and events put on by The New Studio, who we featured two months ago for their fundraising work, it’s no doubt that people in this city are focused on doing as much as they can to help where they see necessary.
This event has a lot of sentimental meaning to me as a current Pittsburgh resident and musician. I am lucky enough where I personally do not know anyone close to me who has died from the opiate epidemic. That being said, I know dozens of individuals who have lost loved ones close to them to this crisis. The main reason I focused on this crisis is because of how relevant, topical, and poorly addressed it currently is. As a 22-year-old living in the Appalachian region, the opiate crisis takes the lives of my peers everyday. In the last ten years, there have been over 3,600 reported overdose deaths in Allegheny County alone. Over 1,000 of those deaths have been 18-34 year olds. The trend is also increasing with reported fatal overdoses increasing from 306 in 2014 to 728 in Allegheny County.
As a musician, too many individuals who have made an impact on our lives and culture have died from opiate addiction. Prince and Tom Petty are just two recent victims of this epidemic. On a local level, the use of opiates is well-known and rampant in our region. If anything, I hope this event helps create more positive action and break cycles of violence, stigmatization, and unnecessary loss.
It’s clear to nearly every resident of Western Pennsylvania especially that the opiate epidemic is out of control and few people know the best steps to take in order to fight back. Prevention Point, with centers in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, is taking the steps they see fit to help those struggling with addiction better their lives, and events like these to raise money only further assists them in making a difference. People like Dhruva and the musicians participating believe there is a solution and are excited to put on an event where people can have fun and help make a change. Finally, Dhruva notes, “[I want the public to know] how hard everyone involved has worked on this show. From the sponsors to the musicians, everyone has put in hours of work to create an event that is unique, collaborative, and benefits the community. If you are looking for plans on Cinco De Mayo that are fun and does good for others, I'll be seeing you at Cattivo!”
B.Y.E. is sponsored by Allies for Health + Wellbeing , Center for Inclusion Health of Allegheny Health Network, Coordinated Care Network Pharmacy, and Pitt Public Health.
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/170685506922140/
TICKETING LINK: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1685258?utm_medium=bks