The Light of Day Foundation, Inc., utilizes the power of music to raise money and awareness in its continuing battle to defeat Parkinson’s disease and related illnesses such as PSP and ALS within our lifetime. The Foundation’s mission is to fund research into possible cures, improved treatments and support for patients who suffer from those illnesses, their families and their caregivers to help improve their quality of life. The primary fundraising efforts are an annual series of concerts held in Asbury Park, NJ. Since its inception in 2000, Light of Day has raised over $3 million in the fight to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. What began as a single concert in New Jersey has grown into approximately seventy shows in thirteen countries on 3 continents including North America, Europe and Australia!
The concerts and the organization began as a birthday party in November 1998 at the Downtown Cafe in Red Bank, NJ to celebrate the 40th birthday of artist manager and music industry veteran Bob Benjamin. Benjamin had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, and in lieu of gifts, asked that donations be made to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Over $2,000 was raised that night. Spurred by the generosity and support, Benjamin reached out to friends, including concert promoter Tony Pallagrosi and musician Joe D’Urso, and formed the Light of Day charity, taking its name from a Bruce Springsteen song.
The first official Light of Day concert was held at Asbury Park, NJ’s legendary Stone Pony in November 2000 and primarily featured local, unsigned artists. The critically acclaimed Pittsburgh-based band Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers (managed by Benjamin) headlined the show, which featured a surprise appearance by local hero Bruce Springsteen, who joined the Houserockers for a raucous hour-long set.
Over the years Light of Day has grown from a one-day event into a festival spanning 10 days in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. More significantly, Light of Day has expanded into an internationally recognized tour, through a true grassroots effort of musicians, music fans and benefactors. Light of Day shows take place around the world on 3 continents, including six shows in Canada, an 18 day late November into December trek through Europe, with stops in England, Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, plus a brand new Light of Day event in Australia! Portions of the proceeds from each show are donated to a local Parkinson's organization.
Performers at Light of Day have included Bruce Springsteen (numerous appearances), Michael J. Fox, John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls), Ed Kowalczyk (Live), Darlene Love, Southside Johnny, Jesse Malin, Alejandro Escovedo, Willie Nile, Garland Jeffreys, Jakob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Badly Drawn Boy, Pete Yorn, Gary US Bonds, Joe D’Urso and Stone Caravan, John Eddie and many more local unsigned artists.
Light of Day also fields a team in the annual Parkinson's Unity Walk in New York's Central Park. Over the years the Light of Day team has raised $80,000, which helped the Walk raise over $3 million for Parkinson's research.
The Light of Day concerts have received print, online and television coverage from many outlets, including the Asbury Park Press, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, Billboard, New York Times, NJ Star Ledger, Home News Tribune, Aquarian Weekly, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, Backstreets.com, CBS Early Show, NBC Nightly News, WWOR Channel 9 News and more.
An award-winning documentary about Bob’s battle with Parkinson’s and the history of Light of Day (with extensive concert footage) was produced by Ohio-based Flat Broke Productions and released on DVD by Virgil Films in 2012. To order, visit the Light of Day Store www.lightofday.org/store or buy directly from Virgil Films. http://www.virgilfilmsent.com.
Over the past several years, Light of Day has experienced significant growth on many levels, including awareness, events and charitable donations raised for Parkinson’s awareness and research. We expect continued growth in these areas for the coming year as well. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us.
Gifts to the Light of Day Foundation, Inc. are tax-deductible to the full extent of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS has designated the Light of Day Foundation Inc. as a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization. The Light of Day Foundation, Inc.'s Federal ID # is 20-1560386.
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects between one-and-a-half million and two million Americans. The incidence of PD is often underestimated because it is not contagious and does not have to be reported by physicians. PD may appear at any age, but it is uncommon in people younger than 40, and the risk of developing it increases with age. It occurs in all parts of the world, and men are affected slightly more often than women.
|Joe Grushecky||Eiran Wolfman|
|Brian Ansell||Gary Schiavone|
|Rob Dye||Mark Harrison|
|Michael DeGeorge||Ronald Streich|
* click on name for email
2000: Bob Benjamin and Tony Pallagrosi of Concerts East, Inc. organize the first official Light of Day concert at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Nov. 3 - Benjamin's birthday. Headlining are Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, the Pittsburgh-based band managed by Benjamin. The show features an appearance by Bruce Springsteen, who joined the Houserockers for a late-night set that ends well after 2 a.m. The shows, named after a Springsteen song (and the title of a movie starring Fox and Joan Jett), raise funds for the ongoing fights against Parkinson's disease, PSP, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and related diseases.
2001-2004: The show moves to the now-demolished Tradewinds in Sea Bright,
2003: LOD returns to the Stone Pony and becomes a two-day event. Actor Michael J. Fox, who also suffers from Parkinson's Disease, joins Grushecky, Springsteen and Benjamin on stage for a performance of the show's theme song. A CD featuring covers of Springsteen songs by various artists is released on Benjamin's own Schoolhouse Records label. The CD and a European version have sold over 30,000 units worldwide and raised an additional $150,000 for Parkinson's research and for the Kristen Ann Carr Fund. All told, the Light of Day ventures have raised over $2 million dollars since 1998.
2004: LOD becomes a three-day event. Dozens of artists, including Gary U.S. Bonds, Garland Jeffreys, Joe D’Urso and Stone Caravan, John Eddie, La Bamba and the Hubcaps, Marah, Soozie Tyrell, Highway 9, Boccigalupe and the Badboys, Dan Bern, Willie Nile, Pete Yorn, Robert Earl Keen, Southside Johnny and Jesse Malin perform.
2005: The Light of Day series expands significantly, featuring one show at the Stone Pony and two shows at a new venue, the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Light of Day produces its first show outside of New Jersey with a show at the House of Blues on the famed Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The inaugural West Coast show featured appearances by Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Dave Alvin and Peter Himmleman. The first international event is also held in Rome in December 2005.
2006: All three Light of Day shows, including an opening night acoustic "Writers in the Raw" event, are held at Starland Ballroom. Light of Day is moved to early December in 2006 for the first time, to give founder Bob Benjamin more time to recover from DBS surgery for Parkinson's. The international shows grow into a second show in Rome and inaugural dates in London and Barcelona.
2007: Light of Day 8 features two days of concerts at the Starland Ballroom on Nov. 1 and 2, 2007. The first night features an acoustic format while the second night hosts rock performances by artists, including Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, Gary U.S. Bonds and Joe D'Urso and Stone Caravan. A week of shows in Europe and two performances in Canada round out the year's events.
2008: Light of Day 9 begins with a rare intimate acoustic performance by multiplatinum Grammy-winning artist John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls) at Asbury Park's Paramount Theater. D'Urso and Stone Caravan, Willie Nile, Jesse Malin and Joe Grushecky perform stirring sets, interspersed with acoustic performers throughout the night, followed by a marathon concert at the Stone Pony with over 20 acts during the day/night show.
2010: Light of Day’s 10th Anniversary is pushed from its November timeframe to January with shows in Asbury Park during Martin Luther King Day weekend. Performers at the Pony include Boccigalupe and The Boys, JoBonanno and the Godsons of Soul, River City Extension and the Tangiers Blues Band (featuring Danny Clinch). The main show at the Paramount Theatre features Ed Kowalczyk, the lead singer for Live, who performs a rare solo acoustic set. Other performers on bill include Joe D'Urso, Willie Nile, Jesse Malin and Joe Grushecky. Bruce Springsteen once again is unannounced but in -house. He joins in with Nile and Malin before ending the marathon by sitting in with Grushecky and his band for a one-hour- plus spot.
2011: Light of Day 11 follows the same format as the previous year but with shows added at the Wonder Bar and the Stone Pony. The Saturday night show features many of the same performers, and Alejandro Escovedo, an Austin, Texas- based roots rock legend, is the special guest on the Paramount bill. Perennial unannounced guest Bruce Springsteen reprises his guest spots with Malin and Nile and also joins Escovedo for an acoustic duet. Grushecky and the Houserockers close the night, and Springsteen joins them for a lengthy set that ends with all the night's perfomers, plus the whole Paramount audience, joining in a sing-a-long of Springsteen's "Thunder Road."
2012: Blues legend David Bromberg headlines the 2012 show which also features sets by Garland Jeffreys, Joe D'Urso & Stone Caravan, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools, Willie Nile with Bruce Springsteen sitting in for cameo performances with Jeffreys and Nile and finally joining Grushecky and the Houserockers for an over two-hour set. The night ends with a rollicking “Twist and Shout” anchored by the E Street Band’s Max Weinberg on drums. The Asbury Park City Council proclaims the entire week “Light of Day Week.”
2013: Light of Day features a headlining appearance by Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee and rock and roll pioneer Darlene Love, who performs an hour-long set of her girl-group classics. In addition, concerts are held at multiple Asbury Park venues, including the Stone Pony, Wonder Bar, Langosta Lounge, McLoone's Supper Club, Asbury Grille, Asbury Lanes, Dauphin Grille, Watermark and Toast. The nearly weeklong run of events is declared “Light of Day Week” by the Asbury Park City Council for the second consecutive year. Light of Day increases its presence outside of the United States. The November/December 2013 Europe tour expanded to 15 shows/15 cities in 11 countries, with appearances from Mike Peters, Badly Drawn Boy and Tim ‘Ledfoot’ Scott McConnell joining Guy Davis, Jesse Malin, Joe D’Urso and Rob Dye at various stops. Light of Day Canada increases its presence, with shows in Niagara Falls, Toronto, Halifax, Kingston and Hamilton, featuring solid performances from Sam Roberts Band, Peter Elkas, Anthony D’Amato, John Eddie, Joe Grushecky, Eddie Manion and more. This year saw the first annual Light of Day event in Australia, held in July in Victoria, raising $4600.
2014: LOD welcomes the return of John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls as the headlining act in a rare solo setting. Springsteen makes a return appearance, performing the Ramones classic “Rock and Roll Radio” with Jesse Malin and “One Guitar” with Willie Nile before joining Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers for an intense 90 minute set featuring rarely played songs “Save My Love,” “Frankie Fell In Love” and “Hearts of Stone.” The weeklong series of shows features over 100 artists performing in 50 shows in multiple clubs throughout Asbury Park (plus a show at NYC’s Cutting Room), and raises over $425,000 for Parkinson’s research.
Other events of note in 2014: The Light of Day organization makes several large donations to other charitable Foundations: a matching $138,000 donation to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) and a $50,000 matching donation (in memory of Dolores Pallagrosi, mother to LOD board member Tony Pallagrosi) to the Cure PSP Foundation, which funds research and awareness for progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, and other atypical Parkinsonian disorders. LOD board member/recording artist Joe Grushecky and his wife Leeann and family present LOD with a check donation for $15,000 after Joe's July 11th Stone Pony sellout show. The 5th Annual Happy Together concert held on June 28th at The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, featuring The Turtles, Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night, Mark Farner from Grand Funk Railroad, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels and Gary Lewis and The Playboys generates $10,000 for the LOD Foundation. LOD Board member Joe D’Urso donates $1000 from his 1st annual Rockland/Bergen Music Fest. LOD also sponsors a 5K Run/Walk in Toms River this past spring.
2015: Light of Day becomes a nine-day event in the NJ/NY area and raises more than $500,000 for the first time. La Bamba and the Hubcaps, featuring members of the house band for the Conan O’Brian show and legendary Jersey Shore veteran musicians, headline the main event for LOD 15. Springsteen sits in with the band. Multiple shows are held in Asbury Park, plus a North Jersey show with Garland Jeffreys, James Maddock, Willie Nile, John Easdale and Joe D’Urso. A NYC show features Suzanne Vega, John Easdale and others at the Cutting Room. Legendary rock photographer Mark Weiss curates an online auction of rare signed photos from his private collection, which raises over $4000. A comedy crawl at three NYC clubs features Rick Shapiro (who suffers from Parkinsons), Jim Gaffigan, Artie Lange and other noted comics.