Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday September 20th 2017

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A Fest with a Mission

By Shelby Nalepa

Local comedian Bubbs Harris has brought a diverse group of fellow comics, musicians, and artists together for one goal: to help feed the homeless community in Pensacola.

Feeding the Urban Homeless Community (FUHC) Fest, which is scheduled for this Saturday at The Handlebar, is a benefit show designed to raise awareness of the homelessness problem in the area.

Harris, FUHC Fest organizer, asks that attendees bring a canned food item or a cash donation (or both) to the show. Harris said that he’s put together several food and clothes drives before, but never something of this magnitude.

“It was actually an idea I had after reading tons of awful news about pushing the homeless away from downtown and criminalizing them,” he said. “That isn’t something I will stand for, so I started sending messages to friends, and it quickly turned into a full blown fest.”

Harris said that there has been a major boom in homelessness in our community as well as all over America, due to the cost of living being much higher than the average salary, among other reasons.

“I have been in that situation, and it is terrifying,” he said. “Our shelters are overcrowded and undersupplied, and it breaks my heart. I just want to help out as best I can. Fortunately, I know a lot of very talented people who share the same ideology.”

The FUHC Fest lineup includes bands Marona, Blight, Dee and the Domestics, Cookies and Cake, Morn Mongata and Posadist, hip-hop artists Big Lo, Jamal Steele and Dee Villain, and acoustic/folk artists Richard Gray and His Sinful Ways and Good Night Geezer. Comics at the benefit will include the Deadbeats of Comedy with Harris, JC Ratliff, Patrick Cunningham, Kurt Keller and Lance Adams as well as comedians Wiley Farrar, JW Brogan and Se’Cory “ATL” McLauren.

Harris said that there will also be a raffle, with tons of great prizes, including tattoo certificates, mercy bundles, house cleaning services and much more.

“In addition, we will be having a silent art auction with pieces from myself, Justine Hamel, Eric St. Pierre and more,” he said. “All funds go toward our charity total.”

Harris has been a standup comic since 2009 and started touring as a comedian in 2011. He formed the Deadbeats of Comedy with Ratliff in 2012 and started touring nationally under that banner. Harris and Ratliff began adding more members last year.

“Basically, we’re a collection of high energy ‘punk rock’ comedians who tend to stray from the mainstream and ignore the often cliquish nature of the comedy scene,” Harris said. “We produce live shows and tour constantly, spreading the gospel of the DOC. However, this is the first time all five of us will be on one show.”

Harris said that it was important for him to include several different types of musicians, as well as comedians, together for one benefit show. Harris started out as a comic opening for bands, and he said he’s always loved mixed bill shows.

“Pensacola’s rock, comedy and hip-hop scenes are closely tied together, and it’s cool to have shows with a variety of entertainment,” he said. “The Deadbeats of Comedy guys and Big Lo are among my best friends in the world, so I reached out to them first. After that, I booked some personal favorites and discovered some new acts when they reached out to me. I’m very excited to see the acts I haven’t seen yet, especially Posadist.”

The non-perishable food items donated at the fest will go to Food Not Bombs, a local organization that feeds the homeless in high population areas.

“I’ve worked with Food Not Bombs on many drives, and trust them completely to make sure all food donations are used properly,” Harris said. “They organize donations and food packages for the local homeless and hungry, as well as brave criminalization for setting up and feeding the homeless in high population areas. They also work with the local shelters and organizations like Sean’s Outpost to make sure they have what they need to take care of those in need. They are great folks.”

Harris said that all the cash proceeds will be divided up among a few local shelters, including the homeless community at Sean’s Outpost.

“Instead of just cutting checks or donating cash, I am personally making a shopping list and purchasing the things needed to help them out,” Harris said. “I will purchase things such as blankets, cots, tents, pillows, and toiletries so as to make sure the money isn’t just funneled into someone’s pocket. I’ll be posting plenty of social media content showing how the money is being spent and distributed. I’m not in this to make a dime.”

Harris said that he’s hoping to make FUHC Fest at least an annual event in Pensacola, and he’s even had folks from several other cities express interest in holding events.

“If this one goes as well as it seems it will, FUHC Fest may become a full blown non-profit organization,” he said. “That’d be dope.”

Food and water donations can be dropped off at The Handlebar on the day of the show, starting at 3 p.m. FUHC Fest organizers will be set up out front with the Milton/Pace Pay it Forward group to feed about 150-200 homeless people from 3-6 p.m. Cash donations can be dropped off at the raffle/auction table during the show, or sent via PayPal to themightybubbs@gmail.com with “FUHC” in the note. Harris said that other than that, just attending the show and bringing a canned food item is help enough.

FUHC FEST
WHAT: Feeding the Urban Homeless Community Benefit Show
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19
WHERE: The Handlebar, 319 N. Tarragona
 St.
COST: $7-$10