Philanthropy takes on many forms. In the modern world, college students are finding even more effective ways to raise money for charities, give people a good time, and overall help the common good. University of Louisville fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon has their own contribution in this ideal: Rock the Roof, a one-night local battle of the bands, dedicated to providing people with an evening of musical goodness and raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization that supplies a common good for the community.
This year’s Rock the Roof is the event’s third time occurring, and it has only been getting bigger. Eric Elder, Sigma Phi member, UofL student and event is excited about the direction the event seems to be heading. The past couple years, when Rock the Roof was just fledgling, the event was held at The Tin Roof a small venue on Shelbyville Road. The modest bar was a pleasant and appropriate home for the event for a time, but it was growing, and it was time for an expansion. The new location is Headliner’s Music Hall, a renowned, full-scale venue with the ability to pack in hundreds. Rock the Roof is no longer a tiny fundraiser, but a powerful fundraiser. Our time at the event this year solidifies that fact.
There are a number of different bands competing in Rock the Roof, ranging in style from solo country-style singer-songwriters to pop, to multi-piece rock groups. Each brought their own flavor to the event, creating a diverse and unpredictable atmosphere. The most popular among Sig Ep was 641, a country pop group whose lead singer is a brother to a current Sig Ep there. The band’s most popular single, “Get Your Yeti On” showcases their humorous and creative side. Another group in a similar country vein was Hayleigh Martin and the Extras. Martin’s delicate voice, and charismatic stage presence made for an immensely enjoyable and memorable set. Others included Before the Streetlights, whose loud and impassioned set most certainly gave credence to the event’s title. Over all the vibes of the event were very relaxed and laid back. Although this was a battle of the bands, all the bands were friendly and in support of each other throughout the night. As one band’s set would end they would join the crowd and cheer on the next band to come on; this was a pleasant reminder of the true purpose of this event, which was to raise money for the Big Brother, Big Sister program. The overall feel was a sense of unity and care-free fun, and even other fraternities came out in support and to enjoy the music.
We sat down and talked with three bands: The Placebo Effort, Before the Streetlights, As and Blank Agenda. While each band, at their core, is rock of some sort, they each have their own distinctive style. The Placebo Effect describe themselves as “alternative,” but also experiment with other genres, while Before the Streetlights never stick to one sound, divvying between different time periods and genres of music constantly. Blank Agenda dabble in southern rock and alternative, while always giving their music a tongue-in-cheek, quirky flare. Each of these bands were unique in their own right, and highlight the diversity that takes place at Rock the Roof musically.
Ultimately, two winners were chosen as the best among the best after several hours of tunes, and a panel of judges had time to sit down and scope out who they believed put on the top performances of the night. The first prize, a special sum of $300, ending up going to Hayleigh Martin, while rock band The Placebo Effect took second, a prize of $100. The big winner of the night, however, was Big Brothers Big Sisters. Rock the Roof managed to raise $5,557.21 just the night of, and is still raking in dough from t-shirt sales and donations. Considering over 400 tickets were sold, and the event was popular enough to justify its move to a larger venue, it’s safe to say it was a success.
After such a successful turnout, Rock the Roof is expected to return again next year, hopefully going even bigger than before. While it is always a good time to meet up with friends, grab a few drinks, and hear some good music, the core purpose of the event is and always will be Philanthropy. Putting in a ton of work, and putting fraternity aside to do a good for the community. While we have a fun time, there is someone out there who truly benefits, and that is an incredible thing.