Local rocker Caitlyn Grabenstein leads a community of musicians and fans fighting for a common cause. Returning to the Falls from Nashville, she’ll be covering NW Philly’s music scene for EFL – and raising money right here at home.
A few years ago, Caitlyn Grabenstein‘s close friend was diagnosed with leukemia. They were both huge Ingrid Michaelson fans at the time, so to cheer up her friend, Caitlyn reached out to Michaelson’s manager, and scored some autographed swag and a personal note that was such an incredible experience — and gave Caitlyn an idea:
How cool would it be for music fans be able to go on a website and order something really special for a friend, without having to go thru all the channels? Better yet, what if a some of the proceeds from that sale can help cancer patients, too?
Caitlyn moved to Nashville, connected with musicians, and created a fundraising business model based on harnessing the power of music to raise money and spirits, both. Now, she’s back home with BANDADE, working to make a difference locally — including regular contributions on East Falls Local, covering live music in NW Philly.
We sat down with her at Murphy’s recently to hear more about BANDADE, including upcoming shows, available merchandise, and volunteer opportunities.
What is BANDADE?
BANDADE is a charitable business I founded in Nashville in 2015 that benefits cancer research with the help of nationally touring and local musicians. We host a series of on-going benefit shows to aid in the fight against cancer and we sell merchandise that benefits those affected by cancer.
What brought you to East Falls?
Well, I was living down in Nashville for about two and a half years, but I had gone to school at St. Joe’s. So last winter, when I was offered a job back up here in Philly, I took it! I was exploring neighborhoods to move to, East Falls kept popping up. So I checked it out and fell in love with it.
What about East Falls has been a new experience?
Haha! Definitely being able to walk places to eat. That’s kind of a tough thing in Nashville unless you live right downtown. Oh, and delivery! We only had one place deliver in Nashville, now we have 48! We’ve definitely taken advantage of that. We walk down to Murphy’s any chance we get.
How would you compare East Falls to Nashville?
Honestly, they’re wildly different. Nashville is a city, but much more spread out. They don’t have row homes or anything. I think it’s far less dense. And, for me, being from the Northeast, I love dense. But there a few really scenic bike trails and such in Nashville, those remind me of Kelly Drive. And Tennessee has great state parks, they remind me a lot of the Wissahickon.
Any tips for East Fallsers traveling to Nashville?
Yes! Butchertown Hall is by far my favorite restaurant in the city. Pinewood Social is a great time for drinks before dinner. If you’re looking for music, the Listening Room is a hidden gem, where you can see some of Country Radio’s biggest songwriters perform their hits (often recorded by Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, performers like that). Also, The Ryman is hands down my favorite venue in the whole country. The acoustics are unbelievable.
Are you a musician? Do you sing? Compose?
Yes, I am. I sing and play guitar. I haven’t played or written in a really long time. But, since being back in Philadelphia, I’ve found myself playing more and more. I’m actually opening our BANDADE benefit show at MilkBoy on October 26th. Matt Hires will be headlining (he’s a singer/songwriter in the Wilco/Ryan Adam vein).
How’s the music scene in East Falls? Northwest Philly in general?
Ummm…I’d say the music scene is more in northeast Philly. There are so many venues out there now. But I would love to pump up the scene in NW Philly. I’ve heard there are some pretty good open mic nights around East Falls, but I haven’t gotten to any yet.
How can folks in East Falls help your organization? Do you take volunteers or other help?
They can help by simply supporting the cause, coming out to shows, buying merchandise — 10% of everything is donated. And, when artists autograph our shirts (participating musicians have included the Goo Goo Dolls, Alabama Shakes, Florence Welch, Ingrid Michaelson, and many more), those t-shirts are auctioned off on our website and 100% of the proceeds are donated.
I hope folks will subscribe to our upcoming benefit shows here and visit the website to join our mailing list, that’s the best way to stay up-to-date. Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @BandadeMusic. If anyone would like to volunteer, just shoot me an email through our website. We’re always looking for help!
Caitlyn is the founder/owner of BANDADE, a charitable organization that raises funds for cancer research through concerts and merchandise. Born in Connecticut. Caitlyn is a Northeast-breed dog enthusiast, nacho lover, web designer, and musical curator.
After graduating from Saint Joseph’s University, she moved to Nashville for two and a half years to work in the music industry. It’s been her passion to use the power of music to simply do good.