A Picnic with Bands
By: Lori George
Jonathan Gunasingham became involved with RYFO the year after he graduated from college. Engineering was his focal point when he attended college, but he was looking for something that blended his passions and interests with a Godly calling. The phrase, “the place you are called is where your deepest longing meets the world’s greatest need” is what Jonathan believed would happen for him. One of his deep passions is music, and he started to wonder if there was a space to craft communities on the road with touring artists, while meeting their practical needs. Jonathan believed this could not only impact the lives of the artists themselves, but also the lives of other artists they shared the road with. He drafted surveys and e-mailed varied artists, reaching out, and somewhere along the line was connected with RYFO.
“I was really drawn to the comprehensive aim of RYFO to meet all needs of touring musicians,” Jonathan shared. “I started to reach out to musicians and set up times at concerts to speak to them about their spiritual, practical, psychological, and emotional needs. When setting up these times, I usually tried to see if I could bring to them something to help them out like care packages and what not. I often had people I was acquainted with contribute items such as baked goods and gift cards.”
Eventually, Jonathan started to dream big and think outside the proverbial box. He was inspired by the amazing gatherings his church put on, and the potlucks that took place before concerts. Jonathan started wondering what it would look like if a tour came through town, and had a giant picnic of sorts before the show, for all artists on the tour. Someone he met at one of the concerts took notice of what Jonathan was up to, and called him one year later to see if he could do a similar outreach for a tour she was booking.
“The tour ended up being Abandon Kansas’s first Canadian tour,” Jonathan shared. “I was excited that the act of service got some steam and others were excited about it. I once again gathered many friends. This time there were more people who came by to hangout and attend the show. They brought TONS of food. The overall night was bittersweet because I discovered the band was having a pretty rough time in Canada; low capacity shows, unaware venues and being robbed the night before the show they played in Toronto. The band was in somewhat low spirits. It was very difficult having such high expectations for the event knowing what the band was navigating. However, it was awesome to form a camaraderie with them and hear that the food, support and love they experienced in Toronto was the best part of the tour. We were also able to send them off with food.”