Interview with our #12OpenMic fundraiser!

What cause are we raising money for?

We first began the annual 12 Hour Charity Open Mic to support one of my lovely friend’s fundraising efforts. The year after, we remembered her wonderful and inspirational friend Dionne and supported Kirkwood Hospice. This year, my fantastic friend and past colleague Stephen Ross is heading to Costa Rica to volunteer and help conserve and protect the rainforest, and all money raised through this year’s event will go straight to the cause. Stephen’s one of the most selfless, lovely men I know and he’s supported my open mic event each and every year, as well as every other mad scheme and decision I’ve made since we’ve known each other. Here’s my chat with him about the event…

You’re raising money to help the rainforest this year – can you tell us why you’re so passionate about the cause?

If you watch your David Attenborough documentaries then you’ll know that we as humans have caused significant changes to the planet over the last few decades that has negatively impacted the habitats of thousands of different species across the world. It’s important that we do our bit to help conserve and protect these incredibly unique animals.

What difference will people’s donations make?

Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03 percent of the earth’s surface but it contains a whopping 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity. The Santa Elena Cloud Rainforest Reserve does amazing work to conserve the rainforest through planting new trees, restoring wildlife habitats and protecting wildlife from deforestation and cattle farming. Costa Rica is the home of sloths, ocelots, scarlett macaws, rhinoceros beetles and even Jesus Christ lizards! Let’s keep it that way.

Are you planning any other charity events to raise money this year, as well as the open mic?

Not events as such but I’ll fundraising by attempting to do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge which involves climbing Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in one day. It’ll be good practise for hiking up to the rainforest reserve every day in Costa Rica!

Why should people attend the open mic and donate?

Even if you are not particularly passionate about the charity it’s well worth coming down to the open mic with your friends because it’s such an entertaining day with a wide range of acts. I’ve attended the open mic for the last 2 years and you never know what you’ll see next. It could be a magician, a poet, a comedian, a musician or something you just wouldn’t expect.

Who are your favourite acts on the line-up this year, or what kind of artists do you hope will attend?

My friend Jake Donaldson is a comedian who plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and I’ve always enjoyed watching his stand up over the years. My work colleague Saju is renowned for his spoken word abilities and I’ve never seen him perform before so I’m looking forward to that too! But my highlight at previous open mics has always been an act that I’ve never seen or heard of before, some of the musical acts last year really took my breath away. I’m sure it’ll be the same this year!

28th May 11am-11pm: get the date in your diary

Head to Brooklyn in Leeds (Call Lane) on bank holiday Monday to sit back and watch a full twelve hours of incredible performers in our local community. To find out more about the event, visit the Facebook event page.

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