FunkRaiser festival returns Oct. 12

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The Ridgefield High School Music Department and School of Rock will be hosting FunkRaiser VI on Oct 12.  

For years, the annual FunkRaiser was hosted indoors as a concert featuring funk music (surprise) at the Ridgefield Playhouse. A few years ago, the event moved outside on the promenade at Ridgefield High School as a music festival. This year, the biggest change is the festival’s timing, moving from late spring to early fall, on Friday, Oct. 12 from 4 to 9 p.m.

The FunkRaiser is the largest annual fundraiser for the RHS Music Department. As one of the most interactive fundraisers of the program, it has historically been a success both in entertaining attendees and raising money for trips, events or big ticket “nice to have” items that fall outside of a normal school budget. Last year’s FunkRaiser placed most of its proceeds towards the 2019 Disney trip, a music festival and performance opportunity for the band, orchestra, and choir program.  A portion of this year’s proceeds will also go toward this trip.

The outdoor stage will welcome back the Funky Dawgz Brass Band as the night’s headlining band for the sixth year in a row. Frontman Tommy Weeks is an RHS alumnus.  “I always look forward to this,” Weeks said “Our band does a lot of outreach for music education in a lot of communities. It’s one of the most rewarding things that we do.”  Also performing is the acclaimed RHS Jazz band.

Another feature is Shere Khan, a band that got its name from performing monthly at Tigers’ Den. The band is headed by RHS Music Director Michael McNamara, who describes the band as “just a fun thing put together by myself and some of the area’s finest jazz-funk musicians and teachers.”  

The School of Rock, primary sponsor of the event, will also showcase its house band.  Several other funk and acoustic acts will be featured throughout the afternoon, as well as Rockestra, a string orchestra that plays arrangements of rock tunes.  

“I am blown away at what it’s become,” said McNamara. “It started with 150 spectators at the Playhouse.  Fast forward to now, and we now have a full-blown festival that sees over 400 attendees.

It’s been such a great experience for the young musicians to get this kind of authentic performance experience and to organize an event of this magnitude,” McNamara continued. “And, it’s all for a good cause.”  

The event is family- and child-friendly, and will have food trucks, ice cream, face painting, tie-dye, bounce house, arts, crafts, games, raffles, and a Cornhole tournament.  

Advance tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens, and free for children under ten.  Door prices are $20 for adults, $15 for students and senior citizens. For advance tickets or more information, visit or email Michael McNamara at