Happy Skalidays to you and yours

For 15 years, Richmond’s ska and punk community has marked the holiday season with Skalidays, a celebration of local music and charity.

Richmond ska rock band Murphy’s Kids is ready to ring in the Skaliday season with one hell of a party.

For 15 years, the band has brought together members of Richmond’s ska and punk community for Skalidays, a celebration of local music and holiday charity.

“One of the years that we held Skalidays at Alley Katz, they allowed us to open a ventilation grate in the floor of the third story and belay our lead singer down to the first floor,” says Murphy’s Kids band member Reid Attaway.  “Once lowered far enough, the crowd passed him up to the stage. And holy hell, it worked and we didn’t hurt him or anyone in the crowd!”

Skalidays started in 1999 by Richmond ska band Bankshot, who asked Murphy’s Kids to be on the bill. Bankshot broke up the following summer and Murphy’s Kids decided to keep doing the show and add a holiday charity aspect to it. The first year the group raised more than $600 for a local home for women and children trying to escape abusive living situations.

More than a decade later, Skalidays continues to raise money and awareness for a different local charitable organization every year. Past events have helped out ROSMY, the Richmond Peace Education Center, Richmond Food Not Bombs, the Central Virginia Food Bank, WRIR, and a number of others. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of a local Richmond family who have a child affected by the disorder.

“Typically we choose organizations that are small, local, and can implement the money we’re able to raise to make improvements during that same holiday season,” Attaway says.

The bands and venues change almost every year, but Murphy’s Kids is the one constant. They act as the host of ceremonies and bring bands they love to play with. This year, Imaginary Sons, 6 Track Amateur, Toxic Moxie, and Signal Fire will be playing before Murphy’s Kids ends the night with a bang.

“We choose the bands based on the bands that we know will bring either a unique musical or performance element to the show and will work hard to get their friends and families out to support a good cause, regardless of the full lineup,” Attaway says. “It’s also bands that we want to see or play with. Toxic Moxie are some new friends of ours that we’ve just started seeing in the last year. Signal Fire and 6 Track Amateur played last year, but once just wasn’t enough so we had to have both back. We’re sure that the show-goers will feel the same way.”

15 years of hosting an event is not lost on the band. The members of Murphy’s Kids are overwhelmed by the number of people who attend and agree that Skalidays never would have become anything without the support of the community.

“If you told me in 2000–the first year Murphy’s Kids hosted the event–that we’d be doing this show in 15 years, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Attaway says. “Every year we’re thrilled at the response that the show gets from our friends and families, and we’re stoked to add to the family with new bands and different venues every year. We really hope that everyone who comes has a blast and that we can create a unique show experience from decorations to the music to the stage shows of all the bands.”

Skalidays takes place at the Camel on Dec. 20th. $8/advance, $10 at the door. For more information, go to the Skalidays Facebook page.

Photo by: Brandon Hambright

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Andrew Cothern

Andrew Cothern is the founder and editor of RVA Playlist, a music site that showcases events, concerts, album, show reviews, and opinion pieces that focus on the vibrant local music scene in Richmond.

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