Sun 5/27 @ 3-11PM
The power of music and song is most evident during times of sadness and tragedy.
For Cleveland Heights resident Michael Weil, who lost his son Josh and his Hawken School classmate Alex Doody in a 2015 car accident, the mourning eventually transformed into a need for both families to celebrate their loved ones’ lives and give back to the community.
“On May 14, 2015, our son and his friend Alex were passengers in a car that went off the road,” Weil said. “They were killed. So talking with our good friend Michael Belkin, whose son was close with Alex and Josh, he asked what he could do to help. We decided to have a concert to bring the community together and do something really special.
“We can make a legacy project where friends of Alex and Josh, and the broader community come together to celebrate the boys and celebrate life. Ideally, we’ll raise some money and pick some organizations to receive grants in the memory of Alex and Josh. That was the genesis of this idea.”
What they came up with is the Catch Meaning Music Fest, which in 2016 debuted at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica before moving to the House of Blues last year. Now the third annual Catch Meaning Music Fest is on the move yet again taking place Sun 5/27 @ 3-11pm at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
This year’s bill features the Floozies (future funk duo), Ripe (funk rock R&B, jazz), Aaron Benjamin (New Orleans rock ’n’ soul), the Vindys (pop/jazz/rock), recent Tri-C High School Rock Off winner Montage (classic rock/pop/blues), MalcUpNext (local hip-hop and R&B phenom), the Butterfly Experiment (funk/hip-hop/R&B) and a special appearance by the Young Souls Band of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
“This breaks my heart, of course, because the Josh and Alex would love to be at this event as much as they would love everybody coming together on their behalf,” Weil said.
“It would be exactly the kind of event that would mean the world to both of these boys. Both of them helped to raise money through school projects for organizations. They were committed to supporting charitable events.”
The Catch Meaning Fund was established at the Cleveland Foundation by the Weil and the Doody families in 2015. Last year’s grant recipients included the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Kids Book Bank, NOLS and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
“Those groups were chosen by three high school seniors who worked with me on their senior project,” Weil said. “These are all organizations that the young adults working with me felt would be meaningful to Alex and Josh. I also have seniors working with me this year. We will announce the recipients for the next round of Catch Meaning grants at the event.”
Each year the Catch Meaning Fund will donate between $15,000 to $20,000 to local organizations; however, Weil stressed the music festival isn’t a typical nonprofit fundraiser.
“It’s really meant to be a public party,” Weil said. “Because the tickets are $26 [in advance, $35 at the door], you get eight hours of music plus access to the Rock Hall. It’s a really phenomenal opportunity for people to both tour the Rock Hall and get to be a part of a festival. It’s kind of a two-for-one.”