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Punks for Presents celebrates 11 years with four shows & 12 holiday cover bands to benefit Children's Hospital of Richmond

Posted by: Amy – Dec 08, 2016

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Metalheads dissatisfied with mainstream Christmas carols can get into the holiday spirit this weekend and next at the 11th annual Punks for Presents concert, a series of shows around town featuring holiday-themed cover bands to benefit the Children's Hospital of Richmond.

Punks for Presents has provided gifts to children in the holiday season through the power of rock since 2005, and this year, they will have four nights of shows featuring three different parody cover bands performing their take on the holiday classics.

There is a show December 10th at Wonderland featuring Zombie Xmas, Elvzig, and Celtic Frosty the Snowman.

The following weekend, the group will put on a show at Gallery5 on December 15th, a show at Strange Matter on the 16th, and a final show on the 18th at Banditos. Each show features three different cover bands singing modified holiday lyrics on top of their punk and metal instrumentation.

The admission fee, a donation ranging from $8-$10, goes directly towards buying presents for children and benefitting the Children’s Hospital of Richmond.

This year however, concertgoers who have a specific idea for a present that they want to donate can go to World of Mirth and purchase any present over $8 and bring both the gift and World of Mirth receipt to the concert for entry. Punks for Presents will take care of transporting the gift to a child in need.

Punks for Presents was started in the aftermath of a late-night bar conversation. “We decided we wanted to do something positive with our time,” said Larry Wood, one of the organizers of Punks for Presents. “Try to help people out, and try to do something cool. You know, kind of make up for being ourselves the rest of the year.”

That conversation led to Punks for Presents holding a single show with just a few bands in 2005. The group used revenue from the show to donate toys- which group members themselves purchased from World of Mirth- to the Children’s Hospital of Richmond.

Eleven years later, the group is still donating to the Children’s Hospital of Richmond, but now they’re doing so with four shows, twelve bands, and help from businesses all over Richmond.

Punks for Presents will hold a raffle at each show including prizes from Rest in Pieces Richmond, Gwarbar, Halligans Bar and Grill, Vinyl Conflict, Hardywood, Lucky 13, Pivot Studio RVA, The Byrd Theatre, Mojos and more with all proceeds going back to the Children's Hospital of Richmond.

There isn’t any one person in charge of Punks for Presents, explained one anonymous organizer. Instead, the benefit is directed by an odd-numbered committee which puts every major decision to a vote.

“We do have one amazing individual who’s been in charge of graphic design who did all the artwork for the fliers, artwork for the stickers, for the shirts,” said the organizer. “He actually spent a Friday night with his dog in his shop making the shirts on his own time. And it’s because people want to, and they’re eager and excited about it. One girl has gone way out of her way letting people know what we’re up to, getting local business involved from every part of the city, from Scott’s Addition to the West End. The people involved are all over Richmond.”

The generous attitude carries over even to passers-by at the concerts.

Wood recalls an attendee at a performance at Bandito’s last year who dressed up as Santa and spent some time on the far side of the restaurant from the concert soliciting donations.

“This guy’s like 6’3, 6’4, a giant, ridiculous man walking around getting donations, and some couple wants a picture with Santa,” said Wood. “So this guy, her husband, pays our Santa a hundred bucks for a photo. And he said, 'let me get you change, and he’s like no, it’s for the cause.' It’s funny, what people do.”

Wood thinks this attitude is what carries people through.

“When it’s said and done, this is something that everyone feels good walking away from,” said Wood. “Feels good walking in, feels good walking out. And that’s really the whole point, to do something positive.”

The four Punks for Presents concerts kick off on the 10th, with the final performance on the 18th. You can get more information on the benefit’s primary Facebook page here and check out the full schedule below:

Punks for Presents RVA:

Night One: December 10th-Wonderland
ZOMBIE X-MAS (performing the best of Rob Zombie and White Zombie) along with ELVZIG (performing Danzig) and CELTIC FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (performing Celtic Frost)
9pm $10 at the door, $8 if you bring canned food

Night Two: December 15th: Gallery5
OPERATION ICY (doing Operation Ivy) along with SCREECHING REINDEER (performing the greatest hits of Screeching Weasel) and UNSUNG (CAROLS) (performing songs of Helmet)
Doors at 7pm, $8 at the door, $5 if you bring canned foods

Night Three: December 16th: Strange Matter
SICK TOYS (Social Distortion) along with IMAGINARY TOYS (The Cure) and DEARSANTA, (Jawbreaker)
8pm, $10 at the door, $8 with 2 cans of food!
Donations and canned food goods are highly encouraged

Night Four: December 18th: Banditos
Jingle Bell Rock Sparrer will be performing all of your favorite Cock Sparrer songs. They will be joined by ELVES (performing Dwarves) and HO HO LETS GO (performing Ramones)
8pm at Banditos, FREE SHOW!
Donations and canned food goods are highly encouraged

Words by Joseph Vandersyde

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