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UPDATED: Warped Tour, Yes I Can unite for eBay auction to aid Summer Meltdown

Auction extended through Saturday, April 11

Posted: March 12, 2009 9:40 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2009 3:59 p.m.

More than 2,000 local rock fans packed Golden Valley High School's outdoor amphitheater for last year's Summer Meltdown festival.

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A music and memorabilia auction on eBay offers a way for fans to bid on and win valuable rock ‘n' roll swag and VIP passes to any show on this summer's Vans Warped Tour.

Items up for bid include memorabilia from both tours, such as guitars, drum heads, posters, T-shirts and other one-of-a-kind items autographed and donated by popular artists on the tours.

The auction added new items weekly through the end of March, and has been extended through Saturday, April 11.

All proceeds (minus nominal eBay fees) from the auction, hosted by Unite the United, the nonprofit organization cofounded by Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman, go to Yes I Can, the nonprofit social inclusion program for about 250 students with and without disabilities at William S. Hart Union High School District schools.

Yes I Can combines students with special needs, usually a form of autism known as Asperger's Syndrome, with general-education peers.

Students in the program plan to use the auction's proceeds to help fund their sixth annual Summer Meltdown Autism Awareness and Social Inclusion Concert at Golden Valley High School's outdoor amphitheater May 16.

"Unite the United helped out Yes I Can last year by inviting us to set up at Warped Tour shows so we could raise some funds for the fifth annual Summer Meltdown," said Bret Lieberman, Yes I Can director at Golden Valley High."They've invited us to join the Warped Tour again this summer, but this year they've added this eBay auction. We hope the proceeds will help the Yes I Can program to produce an even bigger and better sixth annual Summer Meltdown concert."

As part of their course studies each year, Yes I Can students produce the 12-hour marathon music festival, which features a dozen bands and provides a multitude of opportunities for the students to develop social and professional skills that benefit them in school and outside the classroom.

The eBay auction is one of several creative ways Yes I Can generates money to cover festival expenses, including fundraisers at local businesses including Island's, Chronic Taco, Mountasia and MB2 Racing.

The auction is an alliance between Yes I Can and the South Pasadena-based Unite the United. The foundation was initiated by Lyman, whose celebrated alt-rock Warped Tour makes its 15th anniversary outing this summer. Lyman is also behind the Rockstar-sponsored Taste of Chaos and Mayhem Festival tours, and works with major youth-oriented sponsors including Vans, Hurley and Volcom.

"Bands from the tours and our industry friends are constantly sending us autographed memorabilia to auction off for charity," said Laura Murphy, United the United co-founder and administrator. "We just try to raise money for small grass-roots foundations and try to help out the people who are actually doing hands-on community work."

Lieberman first made contact with Lyman in 2007, filling him in on the Yes I Can program and what the students accomplish each year by staging Summer Meltdown. Lyman and his Unite the United partners, including Murphy and treasurer Matt Malles - a Santa Clarita resident and father of two children with autism - thought it was remarkable, Murphy said.

"Concert production is very close to home for us - that's the basis of our industry," she said. "So the fact that these kids are using something we do every day, things we take for granted, as a rehabilitative tool, is absolutely phenomenal to us. To be able to help in any way we can is just right up our alley."

Murphy said she and her foundation-mates learned first-hand how difficult it is to put on a successful show. "People really don't understand what goes on behind the scenes. These kids are doing such a great job, and they're able to work together in such an amazing manner. People who have no disabilities at all don't put shows together as well as these students."

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