If you possess a drum kit and even a trace of rhythm, the organizers of Woodstick Big Beat 2013 want you. The 11th annual charity event, organized by Donn Bennett Drum Studios, begins at 10 a.m. on Nov. 24, when local drummers will set up their gear in the Emerald Queen Casino showroom for Woodstick's latest attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world's largest full drum kit ensemble.
It's a mark the Woodstick folks notably reached in 2005 when 533 drummers played in unison at Qwest Field, before it became Century Link Field. But Woodstick's pesky rivals, the British charity Stick It to MS, have since eclipsed the Yank record, having assembled 798 drummers last year at EventCity in Manchester, England.
“These guys in England beat it, and they beat it by a lot. So now we're trying really hard to get it back,” said event organizer Donn Bennett of Donn Bennett studios.
Granted, it's a friendly rivalry, with both groups battling their way into the record books in the name of charity. The Brits were raising money to fight multiple sclerosis. Here stateside, proceeds from Woodstick will go toward Groove Music For Youth, a Crime Stoppers-affiliated program that provides musical instruments to underfunded schools.
“We've already bought three drum lines for schools throughout Pierce County, full-on Blue Thunder-style drum lines, at $15,000 a pop,” explained Pierce Country Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer. “That's from different fundraisers we've done, and all the money from Woodstick goes to that program.”
A number of celebrity drummers have signed on to help out the cause, including Kenny Aronoff, who has played in the rhythm sections of John Cougar Mellencamp and John Fogerty's bands, among others; Michael Derosier (Heart); Todd Sucherman (STYX); Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean); Jeff Kathan (Paul Rodgers, Spike and the Impalers, Sir Mix-A-Lot); Jonn Bolton (the Beatniks, Apple Jam); Russ Miller and Mike Johnston.
“If you could picture a band playing live onstage with 10 drummers and several hundred drummers in the audience, that's what happens at Woodstick,” Bennett said. “We're playing songs, usually classic rock songs; and we try and feature a song from as many of the artists that are there as we can. With Mike Derosier we'll be playing 'Straight On' from Heart. Steve Fossen, from the original Heart band, will also be there to play that song with us.”
The record attempt will take place at 3 p.m. Celebrity drummers will lead a variety of clinics in the hours leading up to the main event.
Woodstick costs $15 to enter, $10 if you just want to watch. Gold and platinum packages are available, and contributions are tax deductible. To learn more or register, call (425) 747-6145 or visit http://www.bennettdrums.com.