Andrew Baker, who performs as Bakin Bits
, wants to see the inaugural National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Benefit Concert become a yearly affair that benefits a revolving selection of charities.
“I’m hoping to spread the wealth to a variety of charities,” Baker says. “Hopefully, just get a step closer to the cure.”
The concert happens Saturday, October 1, at Mercury Cafe
and will comprise several genres, with performances by Baker, Tyler Brooks, the Other Eric
, the Deceitful Mind
, Comrade Goose and Magic Mo. Baker, who just released the single “Take Time, My Friend
,” classifies his tunes as indie folk with a Neil Young-meets-Big Thief vibe. Comrade Goose
and Magic Mo
both play their own strains of anti-folk/folk punk; The Other Eric is hip-hop and R&B-influenced; Brooks is mainly focused on folk-leaning covers, and the Deceitful Mind plays harder rock music relative to the other acts.
Breast cancer struck Baker’s family in 2014, when his mother, Gail, was diagnosed with an advanced case of the disease.
“She fought for five and a half years,” Baker says. “But in February of 2020, she did pass away.”
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Benefit Concert
Bits-n-Pieces Recording and Susan G Komen of CO
Breast cancer is the second-most-common cancer among women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control
. In 2019, the latest year for which incidence data is available, the United States had 264,121 new cases of female breast cancer reported; 42,280 women died of the cancer. For every 100,000 women, 130 new female breast cancer cases were reported, and 19 women died from it. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease. One of every four deaths in the United States is because of cancer, according to the agency.
Baker says that he’s spent several years trying to get his music career off the ground, and his mother was a driving force behind that. When she passed, he felt even more motivated to continue, in part to honor her memory.
“One was the motivation to just continue to put my foot in the game in music and do the best I could, and get to a position where I was good enough and had enough clout in the area to put on a benefit concert,” he says. “This is the first iteration of that happening.”
This first year, Baker says he’s donating proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Colorado
, a breast cancer organization.
“My mom was a big advocate of Komen,” he says. “We had some people, when she passed, donate to Komen on her behalf, so I figured that would be a good one to start with.”
The Komen Foundation, founded in 1982, has drawn controversy over its relationship with Planned Parenthood, that way that it allocates donations, and “pink washing" — allowing companies to use the pink ribbon associated with breast cancer in order to boost sales while donating the minimum amount possible. Baker is aware of the organization’s image problems, but he says everyone deserves a second chance.
“The past couple of years, the Colorado branch, specifically, has done a good job of trying to rebuild that reputation,” he says. “I figured this would be a good way for me to help them gain that reputation, too, choosing them as this year’s charity.”
While he's not sure how much money the benefit will raise, the inaugural edition will at least serve as a way to get it off the ground. He hopes to see it grow in subsequent years to bigger venues and bigger crowds, food trucks, vendors, etc. He knows it will take a lot of work, but he’s willing to put it in.
“I plan to donate, no matter what we put in, at least $250 of my own money,” he says. “It’s not much the first year, but hopefully we will raise anywhere from $500 to $1,000 on the first go-around. In the future, the goal is to get closer to $5,000 for these concerts.”
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
, and Baker says that although the disease has more awareness now than it used to, keeping up the work is important.
“There are a lot of areas that don’t have access to all the resources or knowledge or research to take more proactive steps to prevent breast cancer,” he says. “It’s really important we have this month. … It might help people maybe get a step ahead of cancer.”
National Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit Concert, 2 p.m. Saturday, October 1, Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Tickets are $15.