Honoring the late Bill Graham

January 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Schools and groups that bring art and music to kids will be reaping the benefits from an evening of music Friday night at the legendary San Francisco Music Hall. They're celebrating the late music promoter Bill Graham's birthday at the Fillmore.

Rock and roll Hall of Famer Booker T. and The MGs, Phil Lesh, Rambling Jack Elliot and Roy Rogers are among the performers on the Fillmore bill.

Bill Graham started at the Fillmore. It grew to the huge outdoor concerts around the world. Graham's life was cut short in a helicopter crash in 1991.

Former associates started the Bill Graham Foundation to continue his generosity and have staged this special show.

They call it "Bill's Birthday Bash" and it comes just three days after what would have been Graham's birthday. It's a tribute to his legacy of helping others.

"Bill used to do little out-of-pocket donations to different causes. People would call him up and say that a school bus broke down or they needed something for a class outing, etc., and he'd donate," says Peter Barsotti with the Bill Graham Foundation.

So that's what they're doing at this event, and it's grown.

"Every year now we're giving away over $200,000 in increments of $2-4,000 thousand per grant. It's all to school programs, after school art programs," says Bob Barsotti with the Bill Graham Foundation.

Graham would have loved this because he once told us he really was a softie... "Beneath the hard exterior lurks a nostalgic slob."