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Connor Barwin: Every Kid Deserves a Safe Place to Play.

May 31, 2016


Connor Barwin has been a prominent face in Philadelphia since he moved to the city three years ago, and not just on the football field for the Philadelphia Eagles.

For the past two summers, Barwin has hosted a benefit show at Union Transfer for his Make the World Better foundation, which helps fund construction of playgrounds in Philadelphia. Previous performers included Kurt Vile, The Districts, Mac DeMarco, Marian Hill and Parquet Courts.

On Friday, he’s hosting his third event, with an all-Philly lineup, including Hop Along, Waxahatchee and a third artist who he can’t name just yet, but Barwin promises they are local.

Our Brendan Menapace caught up with Barwin to talk about his foundation, the city of Philadelphia and this year’s benefit show (as well as who the surprise guest will be, though we can’t publish that).

MTWB_Show3_PosterWebCan you tell us a little bit about the show on Friday?

It’s our third benefit show at Union Transfer. We’re excited to have Hop Along and Waxahatchee. We always try to make it as local as possible and this year, all three bands are from Philadelphia.

Did you know any of the bands before planning the event?

I didn’t personally know Frances [Quinlan from Hop Along] or Katie [Crutchfield from Waxahatchee], but I met Frances last week. We had to do a photo shoot together. But I’ve heard great things about both of them.

Obviously, they have great music, but I’ve heard they’re both just great human beings. Everybody’s only said great things about both of them.

What can people look forward to the most about the show?

I think the show is the best part, obviously. It’s the way we raise the money. We do a barbeque beforehand but every year, the best part is the music. I’m excited to see both of them play. I know they’re excited to play the show and it always comes back to the music being the most important part.

We’re super proud that we’re doing it for the third year in a row. We sold out the first two years and we expect to sell out this year.

I think this year is the most exciting because all three bands are from Philadelphia. Obviously, Katie isn’t from Philadelphia but she’s lived here for the past four years. They’re based here. So that certainly makes the show special.

Plus, obviously, we have two female headliners this year. We’ve always had female bands at the show every year, which I think is important and notable.

I think it’s also notable that these bands are donating their time to do this, which is huge with how competitive the music industry is now. Playing shows is how these bands make their money. So, the fact that they’re doing this for free says a lot about them and how they feel about Philadelphia, for trying to work with us to make Philadelphia better.

Hop Along_1

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Make the World Better foundation?

We started the foundation three years ago, in 2013. Pretty much we’re trying to bring safe recreational places for kids to play through the arts and sports. And we have a benefit concert every year. We match the funds from the concerts and then we try to revitalize one playground a year.

We attach each concert with a playground. So, the Kurt Vile show was the Ralph Brooks Park. It’s finished and opened. The Mac DeMarco/Parquet Courts show went to the Smith Playground, which is under construction now. It’s a 7-acre, $3 million playground.

We’ll announce the playground for the Hop Along/Waxahatchee show on Friday at the show.

Why did you choose playgrounds as the benefit?

I think there’s a number of reasons. I think, first, there’s a huge need. There are a lot of playgrounds in neighborhoods that have fallen on hard times. All the research shows that it’s incredibly important for kids to have safe, happy places to play for their development.

And they’re incredibly important for communities to be a centerpoint for neighborhoods. Every kid deserves that. There’s no reason because of where you’re born, you don’t have a safe place to play.

This year’s MTWB concert is on Friday, June 3 at Union Transfer, and starts at 8:15 (doors at 7:30).

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