Day of music to benefit veterans

Stanhope House opens doors to Project Help

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  • Sparta-based punk band The Bathwater with Project Help Executive Director Sandy Mitchell (R). Photos by Mandy Coriston

  • Angelo Priestman of Jar Jams Entertainment and Sandy Mitchell of Project Help. Priestman organized and promoted a concert benefitting the veterans' support organization on Saturday May 26, 2018 at the Stanhope House.

  • A large poster for local veterans' support organization Project Help stands in the foyer of the Stanhope House

By Mandy Coriston

— The distinctive beat of punk music poured from the cool depths of the Stanhope House on Saturday, May 26 as Sparta-based band The Bathwater played the main stage to benefit local veterans’ support organization Project Help.

The Bathwater was just one of several acts who took part in Jar Jams Entertainment’s Veterans Benefit Concert, which started at midday and went well into the night. The event is in its third year, and musicians and attendees alike were happy to spend the day inside beating the heat for an important cause.

Speaking before playing a set that included an upbeat, percussive rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, The Bathwater drummer Rikki Woods said, “Our vets fought for our freedom of speech and our right to voice our opinions, and they fought for everything that makes this the greatest country in the world. They deserve the very best we can give them.”

Woods looked the epitome of classic punk rock as she took her place behind the drum kit wearing a red and black tutu and a black cap featuring a bloody tiara.

Vernon-based alternative/classic rock group Black Light Circle was also on hand for the event. The band has released several albums with Moonbaby Records and has previously played with big name acts such as Slaughter. Members Artie Desbiens and Karen Fieldhouse said it was important to them to perform at the benefit as they both have relatives who are veterans.

“It’s a great cause, a great venue, and a great day to celebrate veterans,” Desbiens said.

Fieldhouse, who was sporting a top hat reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, added, “It’s awesome to be here with our fellow musicians and to be able to give back.”

Event organizer Angelo Priestman of Jar Jams Entertainment said, “It’s important for us to give back to the veterans as they gave so much for us.”

He expressed his gratitude to the artists who lent their talent to the event. In addition to The Bathwater and Black Light Circle, bands Cara Crash and CRASH NY, ThunderBeaver, Mike Daly & The Planets, The Crowning, Devil’s Bubblegum, and country singer/songwriter Kevin DeFeo took part in the benefit. One-half of the ticket proceeds went directly to Project Help.

Project Help Executive Director Sandy Mitchell said, “I’m so appreciative of the bands who came to play and gave up their time on a holiday weekend, and to Angelo for putting it all together. The bands do a lot of the ticket sales themselves, too, and they give back so generously.”

Mitchell was in attendance not only to take in the music, but to spread the word about Project Help’s mission and initiatives. A large display in the foyer of the Stanhope House held information about the non-profit’s upcoming events and projects, as well the group’s mission statement and a freewill donation jar.

Project Help is a 501(c)3 charity based in Sussex County. Their primary missions are to assist struggling veterans in northern New Jersey with basic everyday needs, and aid in the search for stable employment and permanent housing. Information on their work, as well as their upcoming events and programs can be found at The Stanhope House, which bills itself as the “last great American roadhouse,” hosts musical events nearly every night of the week. Event and ticket information is posted on their website at

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