‘Rock the Red Kettle’ Kicks Off Downtown Holiday Season

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Singer Cassadee Pope was one of the entertainers at last year's Rock the Red Kettle event in downtown KC. (Photo courtesy Salvation Army)

By Kevin Collison

The downtown holiday season kicks off Friday at the Power & Light District with the fourth annual Rock the Red Kettle, a concert benefiting the Salvation Army.

The free, all-ages concert at the Kansas City Live! stage is part of a series of holiday events at venues throughout downtown including Crown Center, Union Station, the City Market and connecting them all, rolling entertainment on the streetcar.

Except for the Red Kettle, the other events are part of the annual Downtown Dazzle holiday festival. The Salvation Army event however, feels right to be the kickoff, according to Mike Hurd, marketing director for the Downtown Council.

“The Salvation Army has embraced downtown and the Power & Light District as the perfect, go-to place for the event,” Hurd said. “We want to celebrate the holiday events and help push everyone’s events.

“The Red Kettle is a wonderful way to kick off the season. Each year, they’ve put more energy into the event to make it more attractive to young audiences.

“They want to attract the next generation of supporters.”

This year’s Red Kettle show features three nationally touring bands: New Politics; LA-based The Mowglies, and Plain White T’s, a pop-punk band out of Illinois with two Grammy nominations best known for “Hey There Delilah.”

Doug Donahoo, spokesman for the Salvation Army, said three bands collectively have been doing concerts with tickets costing $25- to $30 in other cities.

His social service organization is hoping attendees to the free concert might want to free will donate in that spirit.

The LA rock band Lifehouse was the headliner last year at Rock the Red Kettle. (Photo courtesy Salvation Army)

“We want to encourage people to think about that money they’d have spent on a ticket and donate to the Salvation Army,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to put the price of a concert ticket to good use.”

The Rock the Red Kettle event also marks the start the Salvation Army’s familiar red kettle fundraising and bell ringing throughout the metro. Donahoo said 70 percent of his organizations’s operating budget is raised from mid-November through January.

He praised the cooperation of the Cordish Co. in providing the venue at Kansas City Live! and AEG Live, which books entertainment at the Sprint Center and the Arvest Bank Theatre and the Midland for their help.

“People know the Power & Light District as the free concert spot in Kansas City,” Donahoo said. “It’s the gathering spot in downtown Kansas City and we think it’s a great location.”

The gates open to Kansas City Live! for the show at 5 p.m. and Donahoo suggested people get there early. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. with New Politics.

It’s an all-ages concert although after 9 p.m., you must be 21 to enter the venue. Younger concert goers already there can stay.

More information can be found here.

Downtown Dazzle holiday events, highlights include:

–The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting at Crown Center, Nov. 29 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Mayor Quinton Lucas will flip on the 48,000 LED white lights around Crown Center including the 100-foot Mayor’s Christmas Tree. Entertainment will be provided by the cast of “A Spectacular Christmas Show” followed by fireworks.

Holidays Come Alive at Union Station begins Nov. 23 at 10 a.m. Events include a performance by Quixotic, what’s billed as Kansas City’s largest indoor tree lighting ceremony, free mini-train rides and other family activities.

A Very Merry Market: Gifts Giving and Good Cheer at the City Market will be held Nov. 29-30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. People can shop for holiday gifts and enjoy food and festivities at the Market. Admission is free, but donations of canned goods or a new toy in its original package are encouraged.

KC Streetcar Holiday Jam includes musical performances from local artists on Fridays and Saturdays beginning Nov. 30 through Dec. 14.

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