Here’s what to expect at Gavin Newsom’s California Rises wildfire relief concert

Originally published by on Jan. 4, 2019

Gavin Newsom’s inauguration events may go down as the most memorable in the history of the state. Rather, they should at least prove that the governor-elect is more hip than previous officeholders.

On Sunday, Jan. 6, a benefit concert downtown at Golden 1 Center for the California Fire Foundation, which supports firefighters and communities harmed by wildfires, will include performances by Common, Pitbull, X Ambassadors, Betty Who and Cold Weather Sons, a musical duo that was formed as a direct result of the Camp Fire.

The tickets, which run $25 each, are on sale now and will follow a free afternoon event for families where attendees can meet Newsom at the California State Railroad Museum.

The event will also feature kid-friendly activities. It’s one of several inauguration-related events that are scheduled to take place in Sacramento over the weekend with Newsom to be sworn into office Monday.

According to the website for the concert, the goal of the show is “to help fund long-term recovery for the individuals and areas impacted by the 2018 wildfires. California Rises will bring first responders and others impacted by the fires together with our state’s leaders in a celebration of hope, healing and renewal.”

Ranging in genres from hip hop, to rock, to pop, the group of artists chosen for the concert all have connections to political or social activism. For those interested in attending, here’s what to expect from each performer.

Cold Weather Sons

Nathaniel Smith And Miykael Goodwin formed Cold Weather Sons following Smith’s home being destroyed by the Camp Fire in November of last year, according to the duo’s Facebook page.

The musical team wrote a song, which features the sounds of strumming guitars and a country twang, about their beloved town of Paradise. The song is called “One Of These Days” and is a tribute to the town that was mostly wiped out as a result of California’s most devastating wildfire in history.

According to NPR, the song, which was recorded in Nashville, is raising money to benefit victims of the fire.


This won’t be the first time Common will perform at a Gavin Newsom event.

The Grammy-award winning rapper, actor and activist, who is outspoken on many social justice issues and integrates his thoughts on society’s problems into his methodical rhymes with songs like “Glory” from the movie “Selma,” performed along with Cypress Hill and DJ Jazzy Jeff of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” fame at a private event in Sacramento in May 2017.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Common also performed at the former San Francisco mayor’s governorship victory event in Los Angeles this past Novermber, where a Sacramento resident even got up close and personal with the rapper.

Betty Who

An activist on LGBT issues, 27-year-old Australian singer Betty Who hasn’t been shy about her thoughts on the subject.

The singer of hit songs like “Somebody Loves You” is set to belt out her synth-pop tunes at Newsom’s California Rises relief concert.

She’s been dubbed an “Aus-merican” by her mother, according to a report from The Bee’s sister-publication The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., because of the influence she’s taken from some of her favorite American singers. She puts Britney Spears at the top of the list.

“There is no recording artist more than Britney Spears who had such an effect on me. When I was a kid, I was all about Britney and her performance,” she told the News & Observer.


This rapper and activist in the Latino community is known for his fast-paced and hard-hitting songs, including “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho),” and “Give Me Everything” as well as 2013’s No. 1 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 song “Timber,” which featured musician Kesha.

According to, a website dedicated to highlighting “celebrity giving,” Pitbull has supported causes like adoption, fostering, poverty and education. He even opened a charter school in his hometown of Miami in 2013.

Dubbed, “Mr. Education,” he is also a supporter of the Sports Leadership And Management Academy (SLAM).

“If sports is what you love, one way or another, it’s a business you can get involved with,” Pitbull told NPR.

X Ambassadors

X Ambassadors, a New York indie rock band, is no stranger to benefit and tribute concerts.

According to a newspaper in the band’s hometown of Ithaca, X Ambassadors organized and performed at a concert that brought the band back to its roots in September as a tribute to the city.

It should be pretty clear why Newsom chose X Ambassadors for his concert as the band has come out in support of causes like the 2017 women’s marches and Planned Parenthood, issues that are closely-aligned with Newsom’s Democratic values.

The band even produced a single in support of the ACLU, according to a report by Billboard. The band explained to Billboard that the song, titled “Hoping,” was a direct response to President Donald Trump’s actions toward illegal immigration in the United States.

“We will continue to fight against sexism, racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, and the pervasive intolerance being encouraged under our current administration,” the band told Billboard.

Newsom hasn’t seen eye-to-eye on policy issues with President Donald Trump either.

About Daniel Wilson

Daniel has been a writer for over 25 years and recently earned his Bachelor's degree in journalism. Portfolio:
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