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DULUTH-The Twin Ports Bridge Festival, already raising $10,000 for The Music Resource Center, could bring in a six–figure amount for the United Way's "Long Term Flood Recovery Fund", organizers said.
United Way of Greater Duluth President Paula Reed say that long term plan is just as vital to the community as the emergency response carried out by authorities during last month's record-breaking flooding.
The purpose of the new fund will be to serve community member who cannot get help through the government or insurance, Reed said.
Local bands wanted to help that cause.
Trampled By Turtles took the main stage on Sunday night and they rocked it for free, event organizers said.
The folk group that calls Duluth its home typically sells out national venues. But, along with dozens of other acts, they donating their time and sound to attract thousands of people to Bayfront Park.
The area covered by a sea of fans was, only weeks ago, covered with water brought by 10 inches of rain in 24 hours.
Trampled By Turtles' Mandolin player Erik Berry says he watched from his home.
"Personally, I live out in the country now, kind of by Two Harbors and we got stranded out there for a couple of days until the waters receded and we could cross the roads again," Berry said.
"When we got electricity [back]...we started getting the news and it was like 'oh my gosh. There's a disaster happening down the road'," Berry said.
After living in the area for more than a decade, band member Dave Carroll says watching the images of the flooding come down were remarkable.
"Once I was home I walked around and I checked out Chester Park. I went to Mont du Lac where I play disc golf in the summertime and that whole place is just landslides. I mean that whole community, Fond du Lac community. There in bad shape right now," Carroll said.
Enter the United Way – after establishing a "Long Term Flood Recovery Fund" the group teamed with the festival.
"We had so many bands that wanted to participate and give their services for free for this fundraiser that we had to turn a lot of them away," Twin Ports Bridge Festival organizer Lisa Neitzel said.
While public disaster relief for Minnesota has been authorized by the President, the status for help to pay for private damages is still unknown.
And even if the money comes through, relief workers say there will be even more need. Reed says she describes flooding as one of the worst things to recovery from.
"Both emotionally and physically in terms of you lose so much that's precious to you and unfortunately the resources that become available won't cover everything," Reed said.
"Once you find out that nobody gets hurt then the next step is rebuilding it and I hope that happens soon," Carroll said.
"I mean the place where we shop for groceries had half its parking lot washed away. That does hit home," Berry said.
Money raised during the festival will be spread across five United Way chapters that stretch beyond the twin port well south of Carlton County.
And for Trampled by Turtles, with many fans directly affect by the historic weather, band members say their songs are just another kind of relief.
"It's a nice way to help because it's kind of a healing process too. And music is fun and coming to something like this is fun. And after a disaster like that happens it's good to have some fun," Berry said.
If you couldn't make it to Bayfront Park but you'd still like to donate to the "Long Term Flood Recovery Fund" visit The United Way of Greater Duluth's web-page.