NEWPORT, Ky. — Rockabilly singer Veronica Grim knows there’s only so much she can do to help victims of the Australian bushfires from 9,509 miles away, she said Friday night. That’s fine. Her musical benefit, Aussie Aid, can save someone, even if it can’t save the whole country.
"I've just been telling everybody — our actions alone, they might be a drop in the bucket, but together we're a rainstorm,” she said.
She and seven other musicians will play the Southgate House Revival Feb. 1, with all the proceeds going to charity. Tickets cost $12 if purchased online and $15 at the door.
Bushfires are a staple of Australia’s hot, dry summers, but the blaze raging across the bush now has reached an unprecendented scale. In Sydney, Guardian journalist Kate Lyons wrote Friday, the mood is apocalyptic.
The skies over New South Wales are red in the middle of the day. More than 19 million acres have been destroyed; more than a billion animals, many of which live natively only in Australia, have been killed. At least 32 human beings are dead. In Sydney, outdoor temperatures hit 104 and toxic smoke forced residents to shelter indoors.
It’s a daunting thought. Grim said she believes the best way to fight it is by stepping in to offer support to the people in the fire’s path.
"I think we see our best selves when there's a challenge or a problem and we don't step away from it,” she said. “When we feel like there's no option but to help."
Morrella Raleigh, who owns Southgate House Revival, provided the venue for free.
"It really does help bring people together,” she said of the benefit. “And as she mentioned, we look at all this destruction, devastation on television. You feel helpless."
Grim will play alongside metal band Carian, punk group Viceroy Kings, blues-rock act Chalk Eye, True Falcon, rock-n-rollers Bloody Royal Family, The Racket Club and Megahussy.
"It just felt like 'If you don't step up now, what can you get behind?'" she said.