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Pearl Jam Fans Collect $100K in 2 Months Hoping to Lure Band to Queens

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 7, 2015 7:27am
 Pearl Jam fans would like to see the band play at Forest Hills Stadium sometime this year.
Pearl Jam fans would like to see the band play at Forest Hills Stadium sometime this year.
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QUEENS — Their hopes are alive.

A group of Pearl Jam fans, which has already collected more than $100,000 in an effort to get the band to play at Forest Hills Stadium, will host a fundraising event this week that will also seek to benefit several nonprofits.

The event, which will take place at Austin’s Ale House in Kew Gardens on Jan. 8, aims to further boost the campaign on Tilt, a crowdfunding site, which raised more than $100,000 in two months.

But the fundraiser will also seek to help a number of charities, including EB Research Partnership, Wounded Warrior Project and National Kidney Foundation, organizers said.

Fans will also have a chance to contribute to the Vitalogy Foundation, a nonprofit created by the members of Pearl Jam.

"We wanted to use the reach of the crowdfund to do something charitable [and raise funds] for some great organizations," said Dan Sheffer, 33, who initiated the campaign on Nov. 5.

The organizers will have laptops set up at the pub and Pearl Jam fans will be able to donate online. 

The event, which will feature music by Last Exit, a Pearl Jam tribute band, will also be "a celebration of all Pearl Jam fans," and an opportunity "to mingle and just have fun!” according to the Facebook page.

"We feel that [the event] is paving the way to open Forest Hills Stadium to more concerts  and ... to bring more people to Queens," said Laura Altimari, a spokeswoman for Austin’s Ale House, noting that in its 2015 guide "Lonely Planet" picked Queens as the top place to visit in the entire country. 

Altimari said that several local breweries, including Finback Brewery, Queens Brewery and the Brooklyn Brewery are sponsoring the event.

The idea to start the campaign came from the successful crowdfund by Foo Fighters fans, who raised about $70,000 last year in an effort to get the band to play in Richmond, Va., Sheffer said.

Nicole Vandenberg, a spokeswoman for Pearl Jam, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday, but in December she wrote that "the band just finished up a 2-year tour cycle and are on a break."

Sheffer said in a couple weeks he is planning to approach the group organizing concerts at Forest Hills Stadium to discuss the campaign.

Jon McMillan, one of the concert organizers, who renovated the venue and brought back music events to the neighborhood last year, told DNAinfo New York in November that Forest Hills Stadium has “no affiliation" with the group campaigning to bring Pearl Jam to Forest Hills. “We do however appreciate their enthusiasm for both the band and the stadium and hope to one day see Pearl Jam in Forest Hills.”

Fans can pledge $80, which equals a ticket to the show, or $1,000, which gives them four tickets "plus a 'mystery' box of PJ goodies," according to the site.

Initially, the goal was to raise $100,000, but after reaching that amount, organizers said they hope to collect more than $500,000 so that they can cover the cost of bringing the band to Queens and pay the musicians.

Credit cards will not be charged until Pearl Jam agrees to come to Queens. "If the band declines, all refunds are applied automatically," according to Sheffer.

Austin's Ale House is located at 82-70 Austin St. in Kew Gardens. The event kicks off at 8 p.m.