[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter Keytar Bear was attacked in Faneuil Hall last month, the only thing that moved quicker than news of the incident were the public efforts to help the Boston street performer recover. A fund-raising event was established and an Indiegogo campaign was launched — the former had to be moved from Cambridge’s Workbar to the Middle East due to a high number of RSVPs, and the latter topped out a week later at just over $5,000. Last Thursday’s event at the Middle East was well-attended, and t-shirts, buttons, and posters were sold to add to the money being given to Keytar Bear.
In light of recent news that money from last year’s This Is Boston fundraiser never went to its intended destination of the One Fund, we reached out to Abigail Taylor for a breakdown of how the Keytar Bear money was raised and allotted. Taylor had organized the Middle East event and the Indiegogo, and her efforts led the City of Cambridge to declare May 8, 2014, “Keytar Bear and Abby Taylor Day.”
In total, just more than $9,000 was raised through combined efforts, and after purchasing a vintage Roland AX-1 keytar (with the help of a Berklee professor) for $921, a final number of $7,699.25 was put into a trust for Keytar Bear.
Below is a breakdown of all the money raised and costs, as well as Taylor eloquently describing the whole experience after the jump.
Total raised from IndieGogo Fund: $5560.00
Total Fees: $500.40
Total Refund of fees: $278.00
Actual fees deducted: $222.40
Indiegogo total after fees: 5337.60
60% of Middle East Door: $1608
Merch Sales: $1200
Awesome Foundation: $1000
Total Money Raised after fees: $9145.60
Cost of Keytar: $921.35
Cost of T-shirts: $525
Total funds put into the Keytar Bear Trust: $7699.25
Below is an op-ed piece from Taylor that she wrote for Vanyaland.
In the meantime, Keytar Bear will be performing at the Institute of Contemporary Art gala this Friday, Boston Calling next weekend, and presumably all over town until it gets to hot to wear the bear suit out in the streets.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his was my very first fundraiser. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what it would take to reach our goal and yet somehow it was a wild success. I think at least some of why I succeeded at raising these funds in 24 hours is because of the strength of my social media presence, my relationship with the music and arts scene of Boston and Cambridge, and because of the connections that I’ve made in Boston due to my position at Workbar.
It was a nice marriage of all of my strengths, combined with a cause that united people. I owe a vast majority of that success to the people of Boston for believing in the cause; that street artists deserve to be treated with kindness and that the City of Boston is not comprised of a bunch of people who would rather punch their artists in the face than help them.
This being my first go at this, one of the things I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it would be to actually get the funds to go to the person I was raising them for. A lot of struggling artists and musicians live off the grid. Keytar Bear had no bank account, no support system, not even an ID. He doesn’t even have any trusting family members we could rely on. I started to get nervous, thinking I’d have to hand him all the funds I raised for him in cash and he’d be walking around with it. He doesn’t live in a safe area of Boston and many of the people in his neighborhood were aware of his identity. The worst thing would be for more bad stuff to befall him as a result of the efforts of the citizens of Boston to support him.
In the end, a fellow Boston-based musician and friend came to the rescue and started up an account for him. This friend went all over town, asking attorneys, accountants, and trustees who had dealt with this sort of situation in the past and came up with a plan that would work for everyone. This person went above and beyond to assist him with managing his funds and keeping him safe and I’m so grateful for the help that I’ve received from this and other people in his life.
I knew that he was struggling and hadn’t been working for the last few weeks so getting him at least some of the money right away was a necessity. The night of the event I gave him some of the cash raised from the Awesome Foundation, which he needed desperately, along with the brand new keytar we purchased for him, thanks to a Berklee professor who jumped to his aid.
This keytar was purchased with some of the funds from the Indiegogo which we had access to through PayPal. We also used some of the PayPal money to print t-shirts, which we sold at the show for $15 along with donated pins and posters, and raffle tickets for donated prizes. We sold out of almost everything and ended up making a great profit on that.
We are still waiting for the credit card and other payment funds to arrive from Indiegogo, which usually take around 15 days to clear, and they will be transferred to that account to join what was left of the PayPal funds, and funds raised at the Middle East from door sales.
The grand total of money raised for Keytar Bear after costs and fees was $7699.25. He will have access to it whenever he needs it, but it’s safely tucked away in an account. It will certainly help him out with his bills, get his nose fixed up, keep his phone working, get him the tools he needs to further his career, and keep him happy and fed. He’s already been spotted on the streets wearing the new Keytar with his fancy leopard print strap.
I hope I see him soon wearing a new bear costume, as the one he wears right now is so threadbare his paws are nearly see-through from playing his keys so hard. I’ve been told he has a laptop now, which he is using to keep up with his fans on Facebook and answer inquiries about having him play at various events around Boston.
Looks like after he performed on the street he made an appearance last night at the Brite Space Boston Launch party. He was playing music and surrounded by beautiful ladies, which is Keytar Bear’s natural habitat. I’ve also seen a ton of inquiries about him playing at various events. I’ve sent them all to the We Love Keytar Bear Facebook page, as he monitors that page. I’m so glad to see him succeed and so grateful to have had the chance to get to know the person under that suit.
— Abigail Taylor
Keytar Bear on stage last week at the Middle East, joined by Abigail Taylor, far right