On Sunday March 31, the Crazy Tuna Bar & Grille in Essex will host the Tripp Johnson Family Fundraiser to benefit the family of Johnson, the 7-year-old boy who died in a crash on Route 24 in Bel Air earlier this month.
The event includes a concert from 2 to 6 p.m. with many top local bands, including Dean Crawford and the Dunns River Band, Mark Bray and the Steel Soul Cowboys, Rob Baier and Kanye Twitty, and Kory Garrison of Chapel Road. DJ Jon Boesche will be playing music between sets.
The Markley family from Markley’s Marina will be collecting donations for the family at the door. The Crazy Tuna will also be donating 20 percent of all sales from 2p.m. until close.
In addition to the concert, there will be raffles featuring baskets and donated items from local businesses along with a 50/50 raffle.
Johnson was a huge fan of Dean Crawford and the Dunns River Band, who recently took home the Performers of the Year Award at the 2018 Maryland Music Awards.
Tripp’s father Travis, along with his grandparents, would often take him to shows.
“They would bring him every chance they could,” said Crawford. “Tripp was always excited and very bright-eyed. He always had a huge smile. He was just a delight. I don’t know why this kid loved me so much, but he has left an indelible mark on me.”
“When Wayne at the Tuna contacted me about doing the show, it was an immediate yes. At first we planned on having one or two acoustic acts, but our entire band wanted to play, and more people came on board, so it turned into something much bigger,” said Crawford, whose fifth CD “Backroads Lovin” will be released on April 28.
He remembers a time he brought Tripp up on stage at the Crazy Tuna. “He wanted to be like me, so I had him copy a move I did, and he did it perfectly,” he said.
“The day it happened, a family friend texted me about the accident, and I knew right away it was Tripp. I reached out to Travis and we have stayed in touch,” said Crawford.
“He said he was looking at the band’s summer schedule the day before the accident to see what shows he could take Tripp to,” he said. “It’s so heartbreaking, you could tell Tripp was really someone special.”
“We’ve always been a community-based band. We are in touch on a personal level with our fans. We try to give back to those who give so much to us,” he said. “And when they hurt, we hurt.”
Susan Savino, managing partner of the Crazy Tuna, said that the Markleys approached her about having an event for the Johnson family because much he had many relatives and friends in the Essex area.
“It’s really great that the bands have agreed to come out and play for this event. We have a wonderful community of people who come together to help those in need,” said Savino, who said that she and partners Wayne Danielak and Jeff Stone enjoy giving back to the community whenever they can.
“When something like this happens, everyone can put aside all of their differences and do something because it’s the right thing to do,” said Savino. “We hope that it can make a difference for Tripp’s family.”
Because of the potential crowd, neighboring bar RiverWatch has donated the use of their overflow parking lot for the day. Parking will also be available at Markley’s and the Fire Hall on Middleborough Rd. Shuttle busses will be running to get guests to the venue.
Tripp Johnson Family Fundraiser
Sunday, March 31 from 2 to 6 p.m.
The Crazy Tuna Bar & Grille
203 Nanticoke Rd, Essex, MD 21221