Cannon’s Blackthorn in Rockville Centre will once again host the annual Shine a Light music festival presented by the Tommy Brull Foundation. Major indie rock acts The Felice Brothers and Strand of Oaks will perform at Cannon’s this Saturday, Feb. 7, for a double-headlining concert to benefit the disabled on Long Island.
“Every year I’m always trying to top myself,” said Martin Brull, who’s organized the concert over the past four years and co-founded the Rockville Centre-based nonprofit to honor the memory of his late brother, Tommy.
“I’m excited about this show, I’ve been trying to get The Felice Brothers for years,” he added.
Brull’s brother, Tommy, passed away at age 23 in a car accident on the Williamsburg Bridge in 1999 on Christmas Eve. Established in 2008 by the Brull family and Tommy’s friend Kenny Lucchesi, the goal of the nonprofit is to aid those suffering from physical, mental or emotional challenges.
The Shine a Light concert series began in 2011 and featured the indie rock band Deer Tick as a headliner. Each year, the proceeds benefit Camp ANCHOR in Lido Beach, a year-round recreation center for children and adults with special needs living in the Town of Hempstead. The Brulls worked at the camp with Lucchesi during their youth.
Brull, a Rockville Centre native and local surfer, said that music was a big part of his relationship with his brother.
“Our dream was to do a concert because Tommy liked music and we used to go to shows together,” Brull said of the nonprofit’s eventual decision to organize Shine a Light. After landing a major act like Deer Tick for the organization’s first concert, Brull said there’s been pressure to continue attracting big names.
He contacts many bands every year, and while acts like Deer Tick, The War on Drugs and Phosphorescent have answered the call in the past, sometimes things don’t work out due to scheduling conflicts or competing offers.
“But you just have to keep trying,” Brull said.
This year, the fifth annual concert will fund the construction of a special-needs playground in Rockville Centre. A 6-week surf camp at Camp ANCHOR (Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation) is also in the works for this summer.
Proceeds from past Shine-a-Light events have paid for audio/visual equipment in a newly constructed auditorium at the camp, including the lighting, a movie screen, the sound system, microphones and SMART boards.
Collectively, the foundation has raised around $80,000 for Camp ANCHOR throughout the years.
The Felice Brothers and Strand of Oaks are both on tour now. Strand of Oaks’ 2014 album, “HEAL” topped many critics’ Year-End lists. Brull called the lineup, “a great mix of a veteran band and an up-and-coming act.”