The Pitt News

Drusky promotes charity alongside Pittsburgh’s concert scene

By Evan Malachosky / Staff Writer

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In 2012, Brian Drusky decided to arrange a philanthropic Christmas competition.

Drusky, the founder of local concert promoter Drusky Entertainment, asked fans in the community to submit photographs of themselves donating toys or food or volunteering at shelters to the Drusky Entertainment Facebook page

Then, the fan who posted the most photos benefiting the most people received a grand prize of 10 tickets to any 20 shows in 2013. Drusky also gave out a second prize of two tickets to any 10 shows in 2013.

Besides this one instance, numerous accounts of Drusky’s kindness have emerged during his 19 years in the entertainment industry. Whether it was booking up-and-coming bands to gain attention, hosting events to raise money for charities or passing along press passes to two aspiring journalists to meet their favorite band, Drusky has maintained his reputation as a kindhearted promoter. 

“I don’t recall a specific time where I felt as though I should be doing charitable events — it just came naturally,” Drusky said.

The 1993 Pitt communications and film graduate got his start in the music business in 1995 when he founded Landslide Entertainment, a booking company for collegiate and local artists. After two years at Landslide, Drusky decided to join Rich Engler, at Pittsburgh’s then-largest promoting company DiCesare-Engler Productions. Only six months later, the company collapsed. Soon after its dissolution, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment hired Drusky. 

In 2006, Drusky left his talent-buyer position at Clear Channel to venture out on his own with Drusky Entertainment – his music-promoting company of a different ilk. Since its inception, the company has consistently hosted charitable music and entertainment events.

Drusky hosted the “Fallen Not Forgotten” benefit concert in 2009 for three Pittsburgh police officers gunned down in the line of duty. In 2013, Drusky hosted a benefit concert for AJ “Gumba” Bock, who was murdered on his porch in an attempted robbery.  This past March, Drusky hosted a charity roast of comic Keith Stover for neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA). The events raised $43,000, $3,000 and $4,256, respectively.

“He spread awareness on a disorder that most people have never heard of and hosted an absolutely amazing evening — his kindness was unmatched,” said Patricia Wood, president of NBIA Disorders Association. 

Drusky’s business partner and talent buyer, Josh Bakaitus, also assists with organizing charity events. 

“We’re able to raise money for different causes, so why not just help out? It wasn’t something we really thought about as being a charitable thing, it just felt natural,” Bakaitus said. 

Bakaitus also discussed the collaborative nature of many of these charitable efforts.

“In this industry, it’s always about you,” Drusky said. “I wanted to change that — I always felt like I could and should change that.”

For Bakaitus, his charitable epiphany involved someone he knew.

“I had a friend get in a pretty bad car accident who didn’t have health insurance. Prior to joining Drusky I promoted an event for his family that eventually raised $7,000, which was awesome,” he said. 

Despite not having an aha moment of his own, Drusky always felt that he should give back. 

“Donating has always been a part of my life,” he said. “I don’t think there was a particular moment that sparked my desire to participate in charity events — it’s the right thing to do.” 

To honor their achievements in the industry and for charitable endeavors, City Council declared Aug. 29 the first ever “Brian Drusky Day” in Pittsburgh. 

As stated by the Pittsburgh City Council, “Now, therefore be it resolved, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby commend Brian Drusky for his commitment to bringing diversity in music to Pittsburgh and for the various charitable events he organizes.” 

Rather than hogging the recognition on his day, Drusky brought up the idea of recognizing Joey Fabus, an eight-year-old boy who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Drusky had also held a benefit concert for Fabus’s uncle, who is a Pittsburgh police officer. 

“I approached the city with the idea of honoring Joey, too. It felt great,” Drusky said. “I know he loved it — I did, too.”

Correction

In an article published Tuesday, The Pitt News reported that DiCesare-Engler Productions “collapsed.” SFX Entertainment bought out DiCesare-Engler Productions, and it then turned into Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. The Pitt News also reported that Brian Drusky held a charity event for Joey Fabus’ uncle. Drusky did not hold a charity event for Fabus’ uncle. The Pitt News regrets these errors.

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Drusky promotes charity alongside Pittsburgh’s concert scene