Like most Americans, the tragedy that unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month broke Donna Westmoreland’s heart. When she heard that activists were planning a rally in response to the tragic mass shooting, the March For Our Lives—which is expected to draw as many as 500,000 people to D.C. this weekend—Westmoreland wanted to find a way she could help.
And so she thought of an idea: A concert.
The night before the rally, on March 23, I.M.P. Productions will host a special benefit concert designed for teens and anyone passionate about gun control at The Anthem. The concert is called “Stay Amped,” and it’s a benefit to end gun violence.
Students, gun violence survivors, and alumni organizers from Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will make appearances at the concert. Headliners include Grammy-nominated rock favorites Fall Out Boy, singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha, and alt hip-hop darling Lizzo.
“We could have found all kinds of 40 and 50 year old activist artists who have an opinion on the gun violence issue, but we wanted to get younger artists that were meaningful to kids—and that’s what we’ve done here,” says Westmoreland, who is the chief operating officer of I.M.P. Productions.
As plans for the March For Our Lives began to spread throughout the country, Westmoreland called on her friend Liana Huth, VP of Programming at Entercom Communications. “We both have sons in high school and are passionate about this cause,” said Westmoreland. They soon began working together to put on Stay Amped. The two also collaborated on planning the official after party for 2017’s Women’s March.
Stay Amped will benefit Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Giffords, a gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly.
“The reason for the show is to raise money and give the students who are coming to town to participate in the march a meaningful event with a balance of good music, a little bit of humor, sentimentality, and recognition of the tragedy that brought them here,” says Westmoreland.
In honor of the cause, students tickets for the concert are available for purchase at half price and those who visit the ticketing platform online can even buy a ticket for other students. Stay Amped is also offering premium assigned seats in the balcony, called Super Excellent Seats—the purchase of one of those seats buys a ticket for a student from Parkland or across the country to come to the show.
“What do all of us, especially when you’re young—what do you turn to [to] temper, inform, experience a moment. It’s music,” says Westmoreland.