It’s been long said there will be two things that will survive a nuclear apocalypse, a handful of cockroaches and the Rolling Stones’ lead guitarist Keith Richards.
It is this invincible spirit that will be honoured in this year’s 11th annual Keithmas 'fundrager' for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The two-hour concert will feature pre recorded performances from some of Canada's most prominent rock groups. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year the concert will take place virtually on December 18, which happens to be Keith Richards' 77th birthday. The concert will start at 7 p.m. on the Friday and tickets to watch the livestream can be purchased up to December 20.
John Hewer is one of the organizers for the event and says over the last 10 years the concert has raised approximately $85,000 for the food bank. While Hewer thinks the event might not bring in as many donations as previous years due to the concert's modified format, he says he can only wait and see.
The theme of the show this year is "you can't kill Keithsmas" which Hewer says is not only a nod to The Human Riff’s longevity but also to the current pandemic.
Keithmas had humble beginnings in 2010, starting out as a party for the bands that performed at the Rickshaw Theatre over the years. The concert has come a long way since then, from raising $800 and a carload of canned soup in its first year to regularly donating $15,000 to $20,000 in more recent years.
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank was chosen as the charity to receive the concert's goodwill as organizers saw it as a chance to give back to the community where they and many performers were from.
"Even some of the musicians we have worked with have said that when they moved to Vancouver and they went through some tough times they used the food bank,” Hewer said. “so we really knew it was an important charity that we could support and we just thought we would stay with it and that's what we've done ever since."
This year Keithmas will feature platinum recording artist Big Sugar, the Vancouver-based alt-rock group the Odds and punk legend Joe Keithley. Vancouver’s own Rock and Roll Circus are making their first appearance this year along with Phono Pony and Rempel and The Rousers. The show will also feature Keithmas veterans The Wild North.
The show is once again hosted by CBC Radio personality Lisa Christiansen and as a special guest this year is best-selling Vancouver author and raconteur Aaron Chapman.