Wilton Rocks for Food seeks corporate angle

They say the third time’s the charm, and that’s certainly the case for Wilton Rocks for Food, a rock concert fund-raiser to benefit the Wilton Food Pantry and the Connecticut Food Bank.

This year’s third annual event takes place Dec. 2 at the Trackside Teen Center, with more than 30 Wilton-based musicians performing a three-and-a-half-hour concert of rock and pop classics, and tickets have already sold out.

“We are thrilled that this year’s show sold out in less than two days,” said founder Andy Schlesinger, a longtime professional guitarist and sound engineer. “This has become the must-attend party of the year. Our town has really caught on to the concept of ‘by us, for us’ and enjoys being part of something with such a direct and positive impact on our friends and neighbors.”

This adults-only party features an open bar of top-shelf beer and wine, some food, and an enormous silent auction.

All the money, 100%, goes to charity. Since its inception, Wilton Rocks for Food has raised more than $100,000 to feed the hungry, Schlesinger said.

He said the next step in the event’s growth is to develop partnerships with corporate and individual sponsors. “We’ve already secured Bankwell, ASML, Ed’s Garage Doors, Dreyfuss Group, Southern Glazer’s Wine, and some generous individuals. We’d like to see other local businesses become part of this movement. It’s good business, but more important, it’s a great thing to do,” he said.

Wilton Rocks for Food seeks additional sponsors for this year’s event, with tickets available for those that give. “It’s really an amazing show. These are professional-caliber players rocking out. You will be blown away.”

Many people are not even aware a wealthy town like Wilton has hungry families struggling to buy groceries. In fact, 70 families use the food pantry, according to Wilton Social Services.

It all started three years ago with a Craigslist ad and several posts on the Wilton 411 and 412 Facebook pages. Schlesinger said he needed musicians, graphic designers, sponsors, and volunteers for a fund-raising rock concert that would benefit the Connecticut Food Bank and the Wilton Interfaith Food Pantry.

“I don’t know why,” Schlesinger said in an interview at the time. “It was a weird epiphany I had. I’m a musician; it’s my passion. I’ve supported the Connecticut Food Bank a little in the past. It’s a nice local charity. That’s what I like about it; it’s local.”

The staff at Trackside liked his idea and donated space, spurring what was at that point a simple thought into a full-blown reality.

Schlesinger has lived in Wilton for eight years with his wife, Kim, daughter, Natalie, and son, Pearson. He has worked as a professional guitar player and audio engineer.

“There’s some guys in Wilton who can really play; there’s a lot of top-notch musicians in this town. It’s pretty amazing. I’m excited to see them play,” Schlesinger said in a past interview.

For sponsorship information, visit WiltonRocks.com.