MALTA, NY — A new music festival called Rocktoga aims to raise money to help children in the area with cancer and blood disorders.
The inaugural event – a full afternoon of music and fun featuring a lineup of multi-genre music from local acts Grand Central Station, Big Sky, Jocamo and Superposition – is scheduled to take place from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 1 on the grounds of the Malta Drive In, located at 2785 US Rt. 9 in Malta. Attendees will also have the chance to enjoy food trucks, raffles, celebrity guest appearances, and stock car displays.
Proceeds from this family-friendly event benefit the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. The Melodies Center is the sole provider of care for children and teens with cancer and blood disorders in 25 provinces in the Capital Region and beyond.
Rock gown organizer Jay Graham, a member of the band Superposition, was inspired to take this initiative while watching a young neighbor battling cancer.
What started as a small idea gained a lot of support from fellow community members. “The more people I met, the more it became a bigger and better thing,” said Graham, explaining how Rocktoga was born.
Malta Town Councilor Craig Warner further detailed the philosophy behind bringing this new event to the Malta Drive In. “All organizers wanted to organize a great musical event for the benefit of children with cancer. After learning that The Melodies Center canceled its major fundraising event last year due to COVID, this association was a good idea,” he said in a press release. “We met weekly, put our thoughts together and started collaborating with local businesses to create a fun family event for all. No child should have to live with cancer!”
The people of the Melodies Center are grateful for this community effort. “As the only pediatric cancer center in the region, the support and efforts of our community partners are a huge help in providing the best possible care for our young patients and their families,” said Kanya Ayyanar, MD, director of the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancers. and blood disorders at Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital in Albany Med. “We greatly appreciate the generous support of our community.”
Looking ahead, Graham hopes Rocktoga will become an annual event to raise money for this purpose each year.
The event’s ultimate goal is simple: “Hopefully no kid on the road has to live with cancer,” he said.
Admission to Rocktoga costs $25 per car load if booked in advance, or $30 on August 1. Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rocktoga-charity-event-tickets-157992322289.
More information about the Melodies Center and its mission can be found online at https://www.amc.edu/patient/services/childrens_hospital/pediatric_hematology_oncology/index.cfm.