Bob Hope joined dozens of Bay Area rock musicians in an earthquake relief effort featuring concerts in three locations Sunday that raised more than $2 million.
KQED-TV spokeswoman Gia Cablayan said here Monday that $1.02 million was raised during the 12-hour concert televised live and broadcast on radio stations across the state.
The final figure won’t be known for a couple of days, she said, adding that 22,400 people attended the concerts in San Francisco, Oakland and Watsonville on Sunday.
Rock entrepreneur Bill Graham, who co-produced the rock-a-thon concerts with the Bay Area public television station, agreed to match funds up to $1 million. (Those who wish can still send a donation to the Earthquake Relief Fund, 5959 Triumph St., City of Commerce 90040.)
“It’s been a great day for all of us,” Graham told the crowd at the Cow Palace. “We pledged ourselves today to continue our concern.”
Hope decided at the last minute to join the lineup for the event. At first, the 86-year-old comedian joked from the television studio that it was difficult to leave his golf game for the event, but then added, “I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t want to help something like this.”
An earthquake veteran himself, Hope referred to the 6.6-magnitude quake that struck the San Fernando Valley in 1971, joking that he “got up and ran around the house and then the house got up and ran around me.”
Dubbed “Earthquake Relief,” the concerts billed more than 45 acts, including vocalist Bobby McFerrin, who teamed with blues performer Taj Mahal for an extended jam, guitarists Carlos Santana and Neil Young, percussionist Pete Escovedo, and rock groups Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Fund-raising hosts interrupted the entertainment for brief periods to urge viewers and listeners to contribute. The 7.1-magnitude earthquake that rocked Northern California on Oct. 17 killed 67 people and caused an estimated $7 billion in damage.
Other contributors who challenged the public to match their donations included Willie Brown, speaker of the Assembly, who vowed to use up to $50,000 of funds earmarked for his re-election campaign if his fellow elected officials chipped in.
The shows marked the first time in 35 years that KQED devoted airtime to fund raising for a cause other than itself. The Federal Communications Commission granted the station a waiver to allow the show.
Tickets to the concert at Watsonville High School were $5 to allow residents to attend, Graham said. The other concerts cost $20.
Performers donated their time, as did Graham’s staff and a large number of union employees. Local hotels donated more than 100 rooms for out-of-town entertainers and performance halls were provided at cost.
Concert beneficiaries were the American Red Cross, Oakland Mayor’s Earthquake Relief Fund, San Francisco Mayor’s Emergency Relief Fund, City of Watsonville Relief Fund, Santa Cruz City Relief Fund and San Jose Mayor’s Earthquake Relief Fund.