Poverty is Real, which began in 2010, was the vision of musician and Decatur resident Mike Killeen who played a show at Eddie’s Attic and donated the proceeds to an organization that provided shelter and temporary housing to homeless people in Decatur.
After that first show, Killeen and fellow musician Spencer Smith decided they wanted to use live music as the platform for their own organization.
“The first year we formed Poverty is Real, we put on two shows with tons of great musicians which seemed daunting at the time, but since then we’ve held over 10 shows and we’re growing at an exponential pace,” said Smith, who is now executive director of the nonprofit.
He said the reaction from the community has been positive.
“When people hear about the shows and what we’re doing, the reaction is always [so] amazingly enthusiastic that it catches us by surprise sometimes,” Smith said. “I think that speaks to how much people love music and want to find ways to help others.”
The nonprofit works with other charities combating homelessness and poverty in Decatur and then organizes a concert series to benefit its efforts. It encourages local businesses to promote and sponsor the shows as well.
“Every dollar we raise in town is donated to the organization, so everything stays local,” Smith said.
Most recently, the organization teamed up with Atlanta radio station 97.1 The River to promote a concert with a Beatles versus Rolling Stones theme.
“The show will feature 12 bands playing three songs each from the Beatles or the Stones,” said spokesman Ryan Klee.
The concert will happen Friday at The Loft in Atlanta at 9 p.m.
Smith said the reason he believes the event has been successful so far is because many Decatur residents feel just as passionate as they do about helping others and having fun while doing it.
“We get to hear amazing music donated by some of the most talented artists around. People in Decatur know if they go to a Poverty is Real show they’ll hear great music, leave feeling good and know they made a difference in their town,” he said.
If you go:
What: Beatles vs. Stones Rock ‘n’ Roll Showdown
When: Friday, 9 p.m.
Where: The Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta
Cost: $12 per ticket