The end of every summer gives the promise of a new school year complete with new friends, classes and abundant activities. But for many underprivileged kids, something as simple as a school bag and supplies for the new year are unattainable given their family’s economic status. Detroit dynamo Judy Shelton and her peers have a mission to change that through their annual SCP/UR Backpack Music Festival, coming up this August 4th and 5th 2012 and featuring Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Mike Banks, Eddie Fowlkes, Jeff Mills, Galaxy to Galaxy and many more.
Hi Judy can you tell us a little about yourself?
I have been a fan, supporter and promoter of House and electronic music as long as I can remember, over 30 years plus. Derrick May and I have been friends since high school, so the music has been a major part of my life, this was an opportunity to help children and work with the innovators of electronic music. SCP-Backpacking for Success originated in 2005 from watching children go to school with books in grocery bags and not having the basics. Our mission is “No child should be without the basics to succeed.” We provide backpacks and school supplies for children and families in need.
Over 6 years we have hosted the SCP-Backpack Drive & House Music picnic, which was a free event at Belle Isle in Detroit and the stages were sponsored by Transmat Records, Derrick May and Underground Resistance Records (UR), Mike Banks and Techno Music Innovators. Meanwhile, every year the need is even greater, we have 11 organizations and schools participating in the SCP-Backpacking for Success Program and we decided to take the event to the the next level, hence, the 7th Annual SCP/UR Backpack Music Festival Fundraiser. This will be 2 days and 2 stages a collaboration with the Techno innovators, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Mike Banks, Eddie Fowlkes, Jeff Mills, Galaxy to Galaxy and many more incredible DJs, artists and producers.
Tell us the history of the BackPack Festival… Whose idea was it and how you got it together?
SCP-Serendipity, Collage and Potpourri is the non profit that originated by my father, Lorenzo Shelton in 2000, the program was established as a theatrical troop for kids age 7-17 it was an outlet for the kids to express themselves and to write and perform plays and skits on subjects that affect them, such, drugs, alcohol, sex, aids etc. Community involvement has always been apart of my family roots.
SCP-Backpacking for Success Program is my baby, as I previously mentioned from observing a child with school supplies and books in a grocery bag. We provide the Beats and they provide the backpacks!! It grew from there each year and we have had all of Detroit’s best international DJs and producers donating their time: Norm Talley, Terrence Parker, Shake, Rick Wilhite, Kenny Dixon, Stacey Hale, Alan Ester, so many. Along with our Chicago DJs they have always supported me and the children: Craig Alexander, Andre Hatchett, Cordell Johnson and many more.
It has been hard work every year planning the event and I have earned the name “Queen of Rain” because it’s rained half the time! People still came out, brought food, backpacks and had a great time. That’s true friendship, support and love because some of those storms were bad. It can make you discouraged, the economy in Detroit, schools closing, money is tight, but when you see the faces of the babies when they get their backpacks and get to fill it up with what they want… every storm, difficulty, economic problem is well worth it and I will be doing this forever!!
How do you go about picking your line ups? Is it primarily a homegrown roster?
Our line up is derived from many years of friendship with the innovators and the DJs that have been committed to Detroit music We have a strong emphasis on our local talent, but we like to expose our out of town talent to the Detroit scene too.
Is it a plus or a little bit of a challenge that your event falls not too far after Movement?
Actually it worked out great because everyone was home for the announcement of our 7th Annual SCP/UR Backpack Music Festival. The Movement Festival is a different event all together so no challenges and they have been supportive. Derrick May (Transmat), used to be a previous owner of the festival, so people are very excited about our festival. It’s a time for everyone to come together for a cause.
What were the fruits of your labor at last year’s festival? Tell us how many backpacks were distributed, etc.?
Last year we collected over 860 backpacks! This year we have set a lofty goal of 5000 backpacks. Over 6 years we have collected $30,000 worth of backpacks and school supplies for the community. The need is great ever year, I have several families and organizations calling all year for assistance. We now have 11 organizations and schools participating in the SCP-Backpacking for Success Program such as, U of M Organ Transplant Kids Camp, Homes for Black Children-Foster Care, Rhonda Walker Foundation, COTS-Peggy’s Place Women & Children Shelter and many more.
This is such a wonderful thing that you are doing Judy. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? Would you like to extend a personal invite to our readers?
I want to thank so many people for years of support, volunteering and motivation. Czarina I want to thank you for featuring us in 5 Magazine and for playing at the festival too. I want everyone to come to Detroit for an awesome time and for a great cause!
Friday, August 3, 2012: Pre-Opening Party which will preview our “Detroit Futurism by the Visionary” art exhibit at the College for Creative Studies, which is one of the top design schools in the country. The gala will feature some of our DJs’ artistic vision and expression, such as Jeff Mills, Mad Mike, Derrick May, and Abdulla Haqq. We’ll also be featuring the CCS students’ Art Competition and CD compilation, which bridges music and art through inspiration and education.
Saturday & Sunday August 4-5 2012: Doors open at 12pm-12am New Center Park
Admission is $10 with backpack and schools supplies
$20 General Admission-at Gate
$50 Friends of SCP VIP Package
Two Days, Two stages of international, local, out town DJs, producers , live music and much more
Kids Face painting, interactive crafts and treats
*This is a family event
For more information about sponsorships, volunteering and donations, visit backpackmusicfestival.com, scpmichigan.org or this event’s facebook page.