Charity Rock Concerts
News anchor Dan Ashley hosts concerts to help kids in need.
Best known as the longtime anchor of ABC-7 news, Dan Ashley also makes headlines in his hometown of Walnut Creek for staging charity rock concerts. Ashley’s Rock the CASA brings big-name bands to the Lesher Center for the Arts for concerts that benefit kids’ causes, such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Friends of Camp Concord. Legendary rockers Cheap Trick will headline Ashley’s third annual concert on March 4.
Q: Why did you decide to start producing concerts?
A: I have been on the board for CASA and Friends of Camp Concord for years, and have been very involved in those causes. I started wondering, “What kind of benefit might I do that’s a little different?”
I had the idea for the Rock the CASA events. Each year, we’ll bring a great band to the Lesher Center, with its complete rock ‘n’ roll staging—so it’s like you’re seeing a show at the Shoreline. Our first concert was with Eddie Money in 2015; then we had REO Speedwagon last year.
Q: This year’s headliner, Cheap Trick, was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How did you book such a legendary band?
A: I have been a huge fan for years. They were on the top of my list of bands to approach. I’ve been able to cultivate some relationships in the industry, and the first two events went so well that we have built a good reputation. The talent managers and agencies have heard about us, which means we’ll be getting bands of this magnitude year after year.
Q: Your band, Push, goes on before the headliner. Is it difficult to juggle the roles of promoter, performer, and host?
A: [Laughs.] The first year was a bit of a whirlwind. I remember being late to the VIP reception because I was in the lobby showing volunteers how to use the credit card machines for the live auction. But now that I’m a bit more experienced at running it and have more help, I can kind of flip a switch, and change from host mode to performer.
For information about the March 4 concert with Cheap Trick, go to rockthecasa.org.