Rock ’n’ roll for good: One Roof Festival brings together popular ’90s bands to help house the unsheltered

  • Dr. Jonathan L. Bayuk created the One Roof Festival by combining two of his greatest passions: music and helping the unsheltered. The nine-hour festival will be June 17 at the Pines Theater in Northampton’s Look Park, starting at 1 p.m. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jonathan L. Bayuk in his office in Florence. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jonathan L. Bayuk in his office in Florence. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • One Roof’s goal is to build tiny homes for the unsheltered, and 100% of festival sales, donations and sponsorships go to the cause. The staff are volunteers led by Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, a local allergist who was once an aspiring musician. CONTRIBUTED

For the Gazette
Published: 6/1/2023 4:47:14 PM

Dean Dinning believes in the power of music. The longtime bassist of Toad the Wet Sprocket was once a teen in a crowd of 90,000 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It was 1987, and U2 was on its international Joshua Tree Tour. The show was over and Bono had left the stage, but it was the audience that awed him. “People kept on singing the last chorus while they were walking to their vehicles, like the concert never ended,” says Dinning. “And I thought, ‘This is incredible. These people are bonded now and together we can lift each other.’ We all felt hope.”

Today the bassist considers “opening people’s hearts” to be the best part of his job – the job he started just a year before that fateful concert. On June 17, Toad will lead a lineup of ‘90s icons at the One Roof Festival in Northampton.

One Roof was founded on hope. The tiny nonprofit’s goal is to build tiny homes for the unsheltered, and 100% of festival sales, donations and sponsorships go to the cause. The staff are volunteers led by Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, a local allergist who was once an aspiring musician – specifically, an aspiring Pete Townshend – at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Now the president of the Allergy & Immunology Associates of New England, Bayuk became a critical community resource during the pandemic, even earning the moniker “Dr. Covid.” Still, he says, “It’s a lot easier to be a doctor than a rock star.”

Two years ago, the physician combined his love of music with another lifelong passion: to help the unsheltered. As a kid, he was introduced to homelessness while shopping for school clothes with his mom in Boston’s Downtown Crossing, where the unsheltered on the streets seemed to get lost in the crowd. He took up the cause as an adolescent.

In Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and Berkshire counties there are 3,305 unsheltered individuals – the highest number recorded in the past 5 years – according to The Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. The Rehousing Data Collective reported that last year there were 34,579 people experiencing homelessness statewide.

“It’s pretty clear that the existence of homelessness in a society like ours is a choice,” says Dan Prindle, Bayuk’s “partner-in-crime” at One Roof. “And we can make different choices.” The owner of the Easthampton-based Prindle School, he began his career touring with Rane, a New England-based rock band that opened for The Allman Brothers and Tom Petty. When he met Bayuk 2 years ago, he was happy to use his connections to get One Roof off the ground.

Prindle posits that apathy may be at the root of systemic problems like homelessness. “It’s not that people don’t care,” he says, “but we all live difficult and busy lives, and we’re all trying to make sure we take care of ourselves and our own families, so it’s hard sometimes to find the time or the energy to take up a cause.”

While it may seem counterproductive, Dinning notes that simply slowing down can shift perspective. “I think we go through life programmed with this ‘more, more, more’ attitude, not realizing that you can take a moment and look around and realize that you don’t need anymore,” he says. “When you can have that, you can have the realization that people need our help and we’ll all be better off if we’re a society that cares for each other.”

One Roof makes caring easy. “You can make a donation on the web site, you can buy a concert ticket, you can come to a concert, or you can encourage a business to sponsor,” says Prindle. “Just by doing those simple things you’re already making a contribution.”

“Tickets are $45,” says Bayuk. “It’s pretty reasonable for 9 hours of professional bands.”

This will be the organization’s 3rd festival. In addition to Toad and fellow headliners the Gin Blossoms, the bill features Juliana Hatfield, Kay Hanley (of Letters to Cleo), Marcy Playground, The Sighs and Amy Rigby. Local bands The Glad Machine and Eavesdrop round out the line-up. The show will take place on June 17 at the Pines Theater in Northampton’s Look Park at 1 p.m.

Eavesdrop’s frontwoman Kara Wolf is thrilled to be playing among so many ‘90s legends. “I may or may not have an old mixtape” of the artists, she says. If she did, the A-side would definitely feature the Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy” and Toad’s “Walk on the Ocean.” But like Toad, Eavesdrop is seriously invested in using music to make a difference.

“If you have a platform, you have to use it for good,” she says. “Dr. Bayuk has the ability to make this happen for us, but every time we’re on stage, we talk about who needs to be lifted up.” The 7-member band began as an acoustic trio and has been a fixture in western Massachusetts for nearly a decade.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Bayuk told her when he first reached out. “But next time is going to be even bigger.” Ultimately, he sees One Roof becoming like Farm Aid. He has already reached out to Gillette Stadium, where ticket sales for 66,000 could yield one tiny neighborhood.

For now, the goal is to raise enough money for one or two tiny homes. The modest success would demonstrate to potential donors that One Roof is a big idea worth a large investment.

“We want to put on a great concert, and it’s going to be a great concert,” says Prindle. “But at the end of the day, that’s really a means to an end.”

Still, it’s a meaningful one. “Music is on a different level than thought,” says Dinning. “You can be overwhelmed and carried away by it – and that enters the realm of magic.”

To attend, donate, sponsor or volunteer, visit

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