Singer Curtis Stigers was at a Downtown Boise stoplight in 2011 when he realized that the countless hours of hard work and insanity involved in organizing his annual Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza was nothing.
Nothing, at least, compared to the stark challenges homeless people face.
It was 10 days before Stigers traditional two-night benefit for Interfaith Sanctuary. Both shows had sold out in advance.
Consequently, discussions had emerged about the possibility of adding a third night. It was a daunting idea that Stigers wasnt sure he wanted to face.
But there she was: the homeless woman.
Leaning against a wall at the corner of Sixth and Main streets, she held a sign asking for help. Her baby was tucked in a stroller.
Sitting in a cozy car with his daughter, Stigers knew what had to be done.
I thought, How could I possibly not do another night? he remembers. I mean, how hard is it to sing some songs and see my friends and make people happy? It was just like, Are you kidding me?
So we added it.
Next weeks Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza will be the second year in a row that the event fills three evenings. Its the biggest of Boises holiday charity concerts, but its not the only one.
Heres a preview of shows between now and Christmas:
XTREME HOLIDAY XTRAVAGANZA
7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-18 (Dec. 16 and 17 are sold out), Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. $30, at the Egyptian Theatre box office, 387-1273, or egyptiantheatre.net or curtisstigers.com.
The amount of money generated by Stigers annual event now in its sixth year is staggering. Last years Xtravaganza made $71,000 for the homeless shelter Interfaith Sanctuary.
Its a testimony to the efficiency of the marathon event, which keeps costs to a minimum through sponsorships and good will.
It makes me crazy to see money that would be going to a homeless family going to some costs, Stigers explains. It feels so much better to just give them a chunk of money.
All of the 35 acts are donating their time. And the lineup is stronger than ever. The performers about 20 acts each night range from Stigers to Eilen Jewell, Hillfolk Noir to aka Belle, Frim Fram Fram Four to the Fool Squad.
Unlike last year, auctions will be held on the third night, too. Some of the money raised at the Xtravaganza will go to a new program created for Interfaith Sanctuary through Usful Glassworks to help homeless people get job training.
CONCERT FOR CAUSE WITH BLIND PILOT
Silent auction from 6:30 to 8 p.m., show at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 15, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. $22. Ticketfly. Opening: Allen Stone.
Concert for Cause from 94.9 FM The River has raised about $150,000 in its decade-long existence, music director Tim Johnstone says.
Last year, it generated more than $15,000 for the Learning Lab of Boise. This year, Concert for Cause will benefit the Womens and Childrens Alliance.
Portland indie-folk band Blind Pilot headlines the show. Washington hippie-soul singer Allen Stone opens.
Four dollars of each ticket sold goes to the charity, and any proceeds after expenses. But the more significant money generator happens between sets: a live auction.
Fans will bid on items ranging from a football signed by Kellen Moore to guitars signed by Jason Mraz and Imagine Dragons.
Johnstone is particularly proud of a USB turntable donated by Jack Whites Third Man Records.
They didnt make these to sell, I dont believe, Johnstone says. Its so damn cool, completely branded with the look of his label and everything.
Another unique item is a compilation CD of artists featured during 2012 in the Rivers Listener Lounge. It comes with a serious live-music perk.
Whoever buys that gets two seats to every River session we do the following year, Johnstone says. Every session in-studio and everything we do off site. Some years, thats 30 sessions.
MICHAELLA LULA COE BENEFIT CONCERT AND SILENT AUCTION
1 p.m. Dec. 15, The Venue, 521 W. Broad St., Boise. 440-4489. Free.
This show will feature music by Young Burner, Lil G, G Spot, Oly Ghost and more.
Donations will benefit a 9-year-old Boise girl who is fighting Stage IV Wilms tumors.
ROCK N REGGAE MUSIC AND ART FEST
8:30 Dec. 22, Visual Arts Collective, 3638 Osage St., Garden City. $4 at boiserockschool.bpt.me, $8 at the door
Give the gift of music and find some stocking stuffers at this event.
Performers include Voice of Reason, Steve Fulton Music, Pause for the Cause and Edmond Dantes. Meanwhile, local artists will sell handmade pieces.
Proceeds from ticket sales and a percentage of each art piece sold at this event go to Boise Rock Schools Scholarship Fund, which provides music lessons for area youths and refugees.
Michael Deeds: 377-6407, @IDS_Deeds