Left Coast Luau to benefit Maui Strong Fund
Orange County’s Brew Ha Ha Productions has been promoting its inaugural Left Coast Luau, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, since last month. Last week, when news of the fires on Maui broke, president of Brew Ha Ha Productions Cameron Collins announced the event would donate all of its proceeds to the Maui Strong Fund.
“I am hoping we raise a ton of money,” said Collins. “It is not a huge event, but it is a cool event, and it makes a lot of sense since the whole idea was to do a luau.”
Collins, who is also a founding partner of Rad Beer Co. in Anaheim and Rad Brat in Dana Point, launched Brew Ha Ha Productions in 2010 with the first-ever Brew Ha Ha festival in Orange County. The company produces the annual Brew Ha Ha in O.C. and curates many of Orange County’s most popular beer and music festivals, like Punk in the Park Festival, Brew Hee Haw at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, and an annual Christmas beer event, Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival.
“We started out as an Orange County-based local, little beer festival that has now grown to about 135 festival we did this year,” said Collins. “We now do festivals all over the United States, and we have done festivals in Canada as well.”
Left Coast Luau, billed as an end-of-summer luau-themed party, is a single-day event that will include pours of craft beer, seltzer and cider from 2 to 5 p.m. with Polynesian-inspired dishes for purchase and live performances by the Reverend Horton Heat, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Ozomatli and Jonny Two Bags.
The fires on Maui are the deadliest the U.S. has experienced in the last decade, with more than 100 confirmed deaths and 1,300 individuals still unaccounted for. Communities like Lahaina in West Maui have seen 2,200 homes and apartment buildings destroyed. Collins said his family has a special connection to Hawaii.
“My brother-in-law is Hawaiian, his mother is Hawaiian and my nieces are half Hawaiian,” said Collins. “Over the years, I have made a lot of friends that are connected to Hawaii, live in Hawaii or are of Hawaiian decent.”
Beyond his personal connection, Collins also felt a patriotic duty to help.
“I am an American, and Hawaiian are Americans. They are a bunch of fellow Americans that are in a disastrous time, and I felt obligated to do more than say ‘hopes and prayers,’” Collins said.
Collins observed the efforts of friend and beer industry colleague Garrett Marrero, a Poway native and founder of Maui Brewing Co., and felt inspired by his actions.
“When all of this was going down and still today as we are talking, he is running around all over Maui, bringing in generators, food, supplies, water,” Collins said.
A social media post by Maui Brewing Co. on Aug. 11 called for donations of baby items, clothing, blankets, tents, batteries and toiletries along with information on donation centers the brewer had set up on Maui and Oahu.
“It’s amazing,” said Collins. “I love that this guy is diving in with whatever resources he has.”
The upcoming luau event seemed like the perfect opportunity to join in the efforts.
“Any amount of merchandise that we sell, any ticketing fees, any revenue at all from this event, we are going to donate 100% of it,” said Collins. “That includes our commissions from food vendors, anything from the bar, literally anything we get.”
The funds will go to the Maui Strong Fund, created by Hawai’i Community Foundation, which has offices on Maui, O’ahu and Kaua’i and administers a number of grant-making programs and millions of scholarship dollars. The Maui Strong Fund will be used to support evolving needs, like shelter, food, financial assistance and other services as identified by Hawai’i Community Foundation partners on Maui.
“The Maui Strong Fund will provide resources that can be deployed quickly, with a focus on relief and recovery for the devastating wildfires that are still taking place on Maui,” chief executive officer and president of Hawai’i Community Foundation, Micah Kāne said in a statement on Aug. 9. “A sincere mahalo to our donors who continue to support our community in the times we need it most.”
Besides the event donation, Collins said many of the participating breweries and musical artists have resolved to help as well, by donating their beer to the event or their profits to Maui Strong.
“Jonny Two Bags, who is also a guitarist for Social Distortion, told us he is going to donate, after his expenses, everything he gets from the show,” said Collins. “It has become a communal mission.”
Collins and his team have built their business on producing unique, successful events, and he is happy to use that success to help others in need.
“Making no money on this event feels better than any event that I ever made money on,” Collins said. “It feels like this is the right thing to do.”
Tickets for Left Coast Luau are priced at $39 for general admission and $99 for VIP and are available at leftcoastluau.com. Direct donations to Maui Strong can be made by visiting hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong.
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