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Bill Miller

Grammy-winner Bill Miller is coming all the way from Nashville to take part in Thursday's Fight the Flood concert, a 12-hour event that also will feature performances from at least 19 other acts, including TUGG, Heatbox and Reed Grimm.

At least 20 musical acts have stepped up to be part of a Fight the Flood concert event that aims to raise at least $150,000 to help area people who sustained damage and loss in the recent flooding.

The concert, which will include performances from Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Bill Miller, TUGG, Heatbox and Reed Grimm, will run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday at the South Side Oktoberfest grounds in La Crosse. The music will be continuous, coming from two stages under a tent so the show can go on rain or shine.

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TUGG frontman Andy Hughes, who is spearheading the event, described it as a “party with a purpose,” an idea that snowballed as more and more people and organizations stepped up to get involved. Collaborators in Fight the Flood include the Great River Folk Fest, Valley View Rotary Club’s Moon Tunes, Oktoberfest, Irishfest, Country Boom, Midwest Family Broadcasting, Pearl Street Brewery, SSE Music, O’Brien Security, FMB trailers and Microtel.

“I knew I could count on the music community to help. The La Crosse and the Driftless communities are filled with such kind and generous people. It really made sense to approach this as a city-wide concert, much like Moon Tunes,” Hughes said. “We are stronger together and we will do anything we can do to bring people together and help our community.”

The money to be raised will not come from admission to the concert, which is free and open to all. Instead, donations will be collected from the event, and those donations, along with proceeds from beer and wine sales, will go directly to flood victims through the Rotary Works Foundation.

“Rotary has a very strong tradition of doing these kind of things and doing them with no overhead,” said Bill Hoel of the Rotary Works Foundation.

In addition to collecting donations at the concert, people can call in their pledges to a hotline — 608-782-9307 — or drop off contributions in a drive-up collection at the La Crosse Center sponsored by Midwest Family Broadcasting.

Businesses are being encouraged to give generously to the cause, and at least one already has. At a press conference Friday, Joe Kruse, chief administrative officer of Mayo Health System in La Crosse, announced a donation of $15,000, $5,000 from the local health center and $10,000 from the parent organization in Rochester.

People who want to contribute by check can send them made out to “RW Foundation-Fight the Flood” to RW Foundation, P.O. Box 1571, La Crosse, WI 54602-1571.

Performers slated to hit the stages between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. include Pat Watters, David Nash, Humbird, Luke Callen, Matt Monsoor, the Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Frank Moore and Gregg Hall and the Wrecking Ball.

Musical acts in the latter half of the event include the Merry Weathers, the Couleegans, Crooked Willow, Bill Miller, Actual Size, Old Soul Society, Pigtown Fling, Mr. Blink, Red Sky Warning, TUGG, Handsome Animals, Dan Sebranek and Mary Cortesi, and Heatbox with Reed Grimm.

Miller is making a trek all the way from Nashville to help out his beloved Coulee Region. “It’s an honor to come back and serve the community that I grew up in. My deep connection with La Crosse will never end,” Miller said. “God’s country has given me so much, I could never repay those blessings. So I will sing and pray for those who suffered from the flooding.”

Food vendors confirmed to be on the grounds from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. include Big Boar Barbecue, Woodshed Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza, Fathead Steve’s and The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor. In addition, Apothik and Midwest Bites food trucks will be on the grounds from late afternoon through 8 p.m.

Almost 70 people already have volunteered to work the event, taking on roles from telethon phone operator and bartender to beverage ticket sales and clean-up crew. As of Sunday afternoon, all but two volunteer slots had been filled on the online signup page (signup.com/go/WLCasrp).

To make it easier for people working downtown to stop over to the festival grounds for lunch and some music during the workday on Thursday, Lamers Bus Lines is running a free circulating shuttle.

Additional information and updates will be posted on the Fight the Flood Facebook page.


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La Crosse Tribune entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or randy.erickson@lee.net.

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