Music for Massey held 10th annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer research

Matt Leonard
Online Content Editor

Lyle Lovett and his Large Band performed at the 10th annual Music for Massey benefit concert. Photo by Jess Lee.

Music for Massey brought Lyle Lovett and his Large Band to Maymont Thursday, Aug. 21 for the 10th anniversary of the fundraiser to raise money for Pediatric Cancer research at VCU’s Massey Cancer Center.

“It started out as an idea for a party,” said Jim Napier, advisory board member for the Massey Cancer Center.

Napier started the fundraiser ten years ago and has organized nine concerts since.

Napier said the original idea was to bring a band he liked, The Way Backs, to a party. The event has grown into a fundraiser that is expected to bring in $50,000. Napier said there are a few expenses taken out of the proceeds including ticketing and sponsor benefits. The majority is donated to pediatric cancer research.

A decade ago, at the first Music for Massey event a total of $100 was raised. Napier said dedicated VIPs and sponsorships of the event have allowed to event to grow to where it is today.

This year, a $5,000 donation allowed presenting sponsors to use Lyle Lovett’s name in their ads and got the sponsors a prominent logo placement. A friend of Massey could pay $100 for a concert ticket and two drink tickets.

In the early years, Napier was the sole producer of Music for Massey and would book bands, reserve lighting, a sound system and a location. 

One year, the temperature outside was over a hundred degrees, and the concert did not sell enough tickets. The following year, there was another show, but afterwards Napier took a year off to restructure.

Since then, Napier has partnered with Haymaker Productions, who takes care of logistics. With another organization responsible, a larger majority of the money raised can be donated to the stated cause.

Donations fluctuate from year to year according to Napier, and he said a lot of that depends on the artist who is booked.

Last year brought Bruce Hornsby, and years past have seen Chris Isaak and The Waybacks take center stage.

The Massey Cancer center sees 14,200 patients on an annual basis and at any time has approximately 100 trials or studies occurring.

Lyle Lovett’s first album came out in 1986 and he has not stopped with new releases since. His most recent came out in 2012.

His sound has the shuffle of classic country music and the voice of a sultry R&B singer.

Plans for the next Music for Massey began as soon as this year concluded after a short debrief on what to improve upon.

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