The following is an excerpt from the Wilton Rocks for Food website.
Wilton Rocks for Food is the brainchild of Wilton resident Andy Schlesinger. A lifelong guitar player, he had just left his band and was looking for something to do. He read an article about shortages at the CT Food Bank and had an ‘aha’ moment. He hoped to recruit a few musicians, put on a show and raise a few bucks. To be honest, he was hoping to find his next band, but he got much more than that. His friend and drummer extraordinaire Brennan Gildersleeve was his first call, and after he said yes, Andy posted on the local Facebook page. Several people suggested he contact Dan Berg. Although they had never met, Dan agreed to play bass and the Wilton Rocks for Food House Band was born.
The response was strong and over 20 Wilton musicians reached out to be a part of this event. Months of rehearsing in Andy’s basement culminated in the first show in December of 2015. More than 250 guests partied to over three hours of live music and more than 30 local businesses donated to the Silent Auction. The initial goal was a modest $10,000, with 100% of it to be split evenly between the CT Food Bank and the Wilton Food Pantry. But by the end of the night, the first Wilton Rocks for Food concert raised $26,000.
After word got out about this amazing event, 2016’s event featured over 30 musicians playing four hours of music to a sold-out crowd of 300. With over 60 local businesses donating to the silent auction and growth in corporate sponsors, the Second Waltz raised over $48,000.
For 2017, tickets sold out in two days and Wilton Rocks raised $81,000.
In 2018 Wilton Rocks for Food sold out in eight hours! Schlesinger set what he thought was an aggressive goal of $100,000, but thanks to the incredible generosity of the community, the event raised $125,000 that year! The event featured 35 musicians and the silent auction had 100 items.
In 2019 Wilton Rocks for Food sold out in four hours and raised $135,000 and counting.
In 2020, during the pandemic Wilton, Rocks still managed to raise $70,000, bringing the total amount raised to almost $500,000 since its inception.
For 2021, Wilton Rocks for Food hopes to raise $150,000. The event has moved to the Wall Street Theater in Norwalk and will be held on Saturday, Dec. 4. Tickets begin at $125 apiece. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Wilton Rocks for Food website.